Dir. Mike Flanagan
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“The world's a hungry place. A dark place…”
How does one follow up the masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining? Well here with have an adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel novel which tells the tale of Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor)’s life – he’s suffered a lifetime of post-ghost-stress-disorder thanks to his troubled childhood in the haunted Overlook Hotel.
Danny has struggled with his telepathic gift of ‘Shining’ which has allowed the dark spirits of his past to bother him. On the plus side he also gets occasional ‘Obi-Wan’ like visits from Dick Halloran (Carl Lumbly) who acts as a guide to him and who tips him off about the threat of child eating baddie ‘Rose The Hat’ (Rebecca Ferguson) – who literally feeds on those who can ‘Shine’.
"I'll swallow your soul"
Danny must battle through his drinking problem in order to help new super shiner Abra (Kyliegh Curran) who might only be a young teen but who has massive abilities – which alas has made her the target of Rose and her cult.
Doctor Sleep takes its time initially to explore the horror of Danny’s repressed trauma, and Ewan McGregor does good job as an adult Danny Torrance. But he is upstaged by Rebecca Ferguson who captivates as Rose the Hat. Director Mike Flanagan sets a great visual treat for Shining lovers everywhere, walking the tricky line between faithful interpreting the novel and mixing in the cinematic elements of Kubrick’s masterpiece.
"Overlook welcome committee"
There is plenty of gore and *trigger warning* violence against children so if not up for a trip into some real dark material this won’t be for you. It’s strong stuff and compelling too but the story comes undone a little towards the end when it takes the climax back to the Overlook itself. Here the Shining references are overloaded and yet feel a bit more like the homage in Ready Player One rather than a true sequel.
By overusing the resident of Room 237 and aping but never quite pulling off dynamics like the swooping aerial camera movement that Kubrick embraced whilst the Torrance's driving – the lesser quality of this film becomes apparent.
"Back to play with you forever"
Overall Doctor Sleep is a decent effort that can’t match the traumatizing horror of The Shining but adds to the story in a watchable way. Young Curran is one to look out for as she could be big.
The Doctor will see you now, just try not to fall asleep!
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3 - Don't Overlook this flawed but fun follow up!)
Awesomeness ööö – Psyche fights FTW
Laughs öö – A few darkly amusing bits
Horror öööö – Fairly grim stuff throughout
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Shine Jesus Shine
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Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...