Doctor Sleep

What is the movie about? :: The terrifying events in the haunted Overlook Hotel which formed the movie The Shining has passed, but Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) hasn’t taken himself out of it completely. When he was a child and lived with his mother Wendy Torrance (Alex Essoe), he had the worst of the visions, but could manage to lock down the the spirits from the hotel in an imaginary space in his mind with the help of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), a benevolent spirit from the hotel which continued to help him, even after many years. As the hotel had closed down after the incidents, the ghosts, if let out, would try to feed on his psychic ability, his “shining”, as they are left with no other options. He is also warned that he should only keep his ghosts there, and not the memories. But this doesn’t go well for Danny with his life, as he gets to a new low with alcoholism, as it seemed to help him suppress his pysychic abilities, and he decides to escape from this lifestyle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As he moves to a new town, a much smaller one, he finds a good friend in Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) who was also an aloholic, and sponsors him with a job and a place to stay in. He makes new friends in a group meant for the alcoholic survivors, and manages to begin as an entirely new person there. He becomes an attendant for the elderly, and becomes known as Doctor Sleep, as he helped the old people to die in comfort as they reached the end of their days, with his shining. He also begins receiving some messages through telepathic communication from Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl who seems to have a shining which might be more powerful than anyone ever lived during his time, as she reaches him from a long distance away. Her parents are afraid of her abilities, but manage to raise her as a usual child, due to her skills in hiding her shining in front of others outside, including school. Danny and Abra continues to make connection by telepathy.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: It is then that the True Knot, a group of psychic vampires led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who extend their lives towards immortality by the psychic power of young children, gets short of the much needed essence, and decide to go on hunting all around the nation. With the shining essence which serves as the steam for their existence facing a shortage, she and her partner Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) adds the teenage psychic Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) to her group, as she has an expertise in cheatign people, and because they can use their skills of manipulation. They turn her into a psychic vampire after feeding her the steam of Violet (Violet McGraw), a young girl whom they murdered, and had stored her essence for later use. While the group finds another boy with shining, and brutally murders him while feeding on his essence, Abra finds them, and she comes face to face with Rose, an act which sets the vampires on her trail. Danny feels the need to save her, but can he fight this centuries old cult of vampires?

The defence of Doctor Sleep :: There is balance being maintained in Doctor Sleep, as instead of getting into horror, which was the easiest step, the movie chooses to build each character really well. The case of the mind is nicely told, and we understand what each character is going through, and at the same time, we know their worlds really well. Unlike The Shining, the movie has different people and different world coming together, and we see the minds too, in an adventure which seems to be so well-designed to suit the taste of more than one kind of audience. That doesn’t take away the horror elements from Doctor Sleep, as they are present, and so are those thrilling moments. The different settings used by the movie, from the outskirts to the hotel with the spirits, are really good. The final fight scene of the movie is brilliantly worked out, and Rebecca Ferguson shows mastery out there as the psychic vampires rise above the blood-thirsty ones here.

Positives and negatives :: There was a challenging task ahead for the director here, to keep the movie close to the 2013 novel by Stephen King and the 1980 movie which deviated from the Stephen King novel – it was a difficult task, but it seems to have been done with some extra care. But the movie would have done better if it had followed the 2013 novel, because the younger audience who watch these movies more do not care that much about a 1980 version, and some others might have forgotten about the movie – if it had shortened its length and had stayed close to the 2013 novel version, there was chance for better success for this flick which didn’t come close to staying in the theatres as much as we wanted. The number of release centres which it had managed were also less, and it didn’t reach some towns at all. The movie might feel too long for some, but unlike some of other adaptations from novel which turn out to be too long, this one doesn’t drag.

Performers of the soul :: Ewan McGregor nicely makes the character a favourite, as we get to know the child from shining shown as the adult, and he fits in very well. Rebecca Ferguson plays the antagonist here, and this is one villain that you don’t need to miss, as he works this one towards perfection. When you are in a horror movie, there are antagonists which you imagine, but not this one, as she plays another character whom we get close to, someone who is not the usual evil prey. Most of the audience know her the best from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout; she was also there in the science fiction horror in space, Life. The Swedish actress would be someone perfectly suited for thrillers, whether action thrillers or horror thrillers, and we see her becoming the character in such a way that we can’t separate her from the antagonist. Kyliegh Curran as the girl with the most shining is solid, while Emily Alyn Lind adds a beautiful evil charm.

How it finishes :: It is not easy to come up with something like a perfect sequel after a long period of time, like thirty nine years after a movie releases. If you have watched It, you know that the sequel came in just a few years, and the second chapter never really came close to being as good as the first one. Pet Sematary, with its sequels and reboots have also just managed to be good enough. But Doctor Sleep, the sequel of The Shining has excelled in doing the job. It is indeed a shining sequel, and it might be the best, a movie can have as its sequel, especially a psychological horror film. Even Hannibal couldn’t get such a sequel, and we know where The Ring franchise went. The Conjuring had the best one as the first movie, and so did Insidious. Therefore, what Doctor Sleep has achieved with one of the best movies of the year is something that we need to appreciate. Here is one psychological thriller you shouldn’t miss even in the name of Corona virus.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Jocelin Donahue, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Longstreet, Alex Essoe, Carel Struycken, Zackary Momoh, Jacob Tremblay, Henry Thomas, Bethany Anne Lind, Catherine Parker, Violet McGraw, Selena Anduze, Met Clarke

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.


10 thoughts on “Doctor Sleep

  1. I really, really enjoyed this film. I’m a huge Stephen King fan, so I’m always predisposed to like all his stuff, but I thought this one was really special. Going to buy the bluray now and watch it again

    Liked by 1 person

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