By John Duarte
Heeeeereeesss ME!!!! I’m so sorry for that everyone. I kind of had to. Welp!, Now that’s out of the way…Let’s get into this review, shall we? Doctor Sleep is of course based upon the book of the same name by legendary author Stephen King. The story takes place years after the events of “The Shining” and follows Danny Torrence all grown up. Now played by Ewan McGregor, who’s a recovering alcoholic who gets a job at a hospital and talks to the patients who are about to pass on into the next life. Later on, Danny meets a girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) with the same powers as him. When a cult group named The True Knot come around and prey on children and sucks their souls right out of them, Danny tries to protect Abra and defeat The True Knot and it’s leader Rose the Hat (Rebbeca Ferguson). Sounds like a fun romp huh?
I had a couple of days to think about what I thought of this movie. When I left the press screening, I quickly answered: “This movie is OK, not great and it didn’t wow me unlike writer & director Mike Flanagan’s previous work.” After processing my thoughts, I come to a conclusion with I did enjoy this movie very much as it’s both a sequel to Kubrick’s movie as well as elements of the recent book. Although I have read neither of the books (Don’t @ me), “Doctor Sleep” very much works as a sequel to the movie. Ewan’s portrayal as older Danny is a very sad man who of course tries to redeem himself from the trauma he’s suffered from The Overlook Hotel incident. The main villain Rose the leader of the cult is my favorite character of the movie and as I was talking to another fellow critic, we would like to see a spin-off movie on how Rose and the rest of The True Knot gang came to be. I thought Abra was an interesting addition to this movie and I thought Kyliegh did a fine job portraying her and she does some pretty badass tricks during the middle of the movie.
Getting back to writer/director Mike Flanagan for a second…I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw “Oculus”. A movie the flew under my radar and became one of my favorite movies of 2013. He also made that purely amazing “Ouija” sequel that’s 10 billion times more watchable than the god awful first one. He has a specific style I like very much and I thought he brought some of his styles to this. There were a few things I found interesting about this movie as it is a sequel, The score by The Newton Brothers (Mike Flanagan’s goto film composers) stayed true to the original score that Wendy Carlos first brought us back in 1980 as well as added some of their flavor to the mix.
“Sleep” also brought back some familiar characters. I won’t give too much away but the actors portraying these characters did a unique job at the impressions and the mannerisms. Ok, I’ll give one thing away…Danny’s mom originally portrayed by Shelley Duval now played by Alex Essoe perfectly imitates Shelley’s performance. Now, If you REALLY don’t want to know about what happens in the 3rd act, I suggest you stop reading now if you want to hear what happens. I’ll give you at least five seconds.
5 4 3 2 1 Ok,…So the 3 act Takes Danny & Abra and basically invites Rose to you guessed it, The Overlook Hotel for the final battle. It also begins exactly the way “The Shining” begins with the helicopter shot going through the lake all the way to following the car as it drives to the hotel. When we get there, everything you remember from the Kubrick movie is recreated in “Sleep”. All the hallways, the main room, room 237, etc. I enjoyed the final battle very much as well as the execution of the finale. All in all, It’s a satisfying sequel to the movie rather than the book.
To wrap things up, If you’re looking for a straight-up adaptation to “Doctor Sleep”, look somewhere else, but if you wanted a sequel to the Stanley Kubrick 1980’s horror classic with some elements of “Doctor Sleep”, you came to the right place. At just 2 hours and 40 mins, I think Flanagan who edited this movie kept the pace flowing throughout to make this a fun and interesting horror/thriller. Definitely catch it with an audience when it comes to theaters with a special screening on Halloween night October 31st (as of this review) and when it officially comes out on November 8th.
(All Images Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)