*Spoilers for The Shining and this movie.
Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance remains traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was a child. His hope for a peaceful existence soon becomes shattered when he meets Abra, a teen who shares his extrasensory gift of the “shine.” Together, they form an unlikely alliance to battle the True Knot, a cult whose members try to feed off the shine of innocents to become immortal.
When you hear that they are making a sequel to The Shining it is hard to fathom anything that can come close to matching its greatness. Even with source material by the great Stephen King, Doctor Sleep is a major risk for Director Mike Flanagan who will, for better or worse, be compared with the master Stanley Kubrick.
Even with a lot going against it Doctor Sleep is a very good movie, and another in a line of good horror movies this year with Us and It Chapter 2. The story is much different than the original, but you do get major homages and there are even full scenes that have been recreated from the original.
Evan McGregor plays a grown up Danny Torrance who has turned to alcoholism in the wake of his childhood events. He develops a connection with fellow shiner Abra and together they set off to find and stop a cult from feeding off other peoples shine. The adventure takes them to very unexpected places and yes brings them back to Colorado and to the Overlook Hotel. This story is also very much a story about alcohol recovery as a counter to the addiction undertones of The Shining.
What is great about this movie is how Mike Flanagan paid tribute to Kubrick in many shots, but also found a way to really stamp his own name on this. The suspense, the music, and the distortion of reality kept me on my toes the whole time and made for an enjoyable experience.
Stock Up – Ewan McGregor is phenomenal in this role and really lets himself get swept into the journey. He is making a lot of noise recently as well with his role in the new Harley Quinn movie, and of course he is making a return as Obi Wan Kenobi. McGregor is having a moment.
Stock Up – Kyleigh Curran played the young Abra and was powerful in the role. She had to play almost every scene with adults and held her own the entire time. Very impressive performance from the young actor.
Stock Up – Rebecca Ferguson is someone I have been excited about since seeing her in The Greatest Showman and the Mission Impossible movies. Loved her this year in The Kid Who Would be King and the new Men in Black so I was pumped to see her in another villainous role. She was so creepy and intoxicating she had that cant look away thing going for her in this. I loved every vibe she was giving off and I continue to be impressed by her.
*A couple other tidbits
- The usage of The Shining score at points was perfect.
- I wanted a little more of the history of the cult.
- All of the recreated scenes worked and did not disgrace the original.
Making a sequel to one of the most iconic movies of all time could not have been easy to do. Mike Flanagan and crew of course did not reach the heights of Kubrick, but they made a very impressive follow up that actually feels needed to the story.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.