Doctor Sleep- enough action to stop you falling asleep?
Director: Mike Flanagan
Release date: 31st October 2019
Our Rating: ★★★½
Little Danny Torrance is all grown up
Doctor Sleep picks up around 30 years after the events of the Overlook Hotel. Danny Torrance is an alcoholic and really has not handled his shining, his fathers rage and just life after the Overlook at all well. In a bid to further run from his problems and his past, he ends up living in Fraiser, New Hampshire. A close knit quiet town. Everyone knows one another and he finds himself embraced by the people of Fraiser, in particularly Billy. Who goes on to help Danny on his road to sobriety and helps him start to live his life again.
Cats always know
Danny, takes a job as an orderly in a hospice, there, using his shining he is able to provide a level of comfort for the dying patients. Hence his new moniker, Doctor Sleep. Soon, this new found equilibrium is shattered, a child with the shining reaches out. Children have gone missing. There is a new evil sweeping from town to town, praying on certain victims. The ‘True Knot’ cult are on the hunt for those with the shining so they can feed off their essence. They do not worried about spilling blood to get fed.
It gets to be quite a predictable film, Danny, played by the always charming Ewan McGreggor, is the reluctant, older hero. He has been there, done that, does not want to endure the pain again. But eventually he comes round, as we knew he would. There is not much in the way of a twisting narrative in Doctor Sleep, you are just waiting for the final show down and you know, without having to even see the film, that we will be returning to the Overlook. For a follow up to The Shining, I felt that Doctor Sleep should have a lot more scares than we got. It is a long film tapping out at around 2.30mins and it is not always propelled along.
Where the narrative may have failed to keep me on the hook. What kept my interest was the visuals, the spectacle of the shining. There are mind bending scenes where we creep through peoples heads and huge blasts of physic power. The film does feel more in line with a walk through the halls of Hill House than a Kubrick film, but that is not a negative necessarily. Flanagan has not tried to replicate The Shining but pays homage to the previous film and the source material itself. The blue/ green/ grey palette the film is tinged with works to give the aesthetics a nice sickly otherworldly feel. We are always just that bit off kilter.
Stand out performances
Doctor Sleep works best when looked at not as a horror film but as a sort of super human revenge/ redemption movie? Stand out performances from McGreggor, Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat and 13 year old Kyliegh Curran who plays the absolutely badass Abra!
Doctor Sleep is a good watch for fans of Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House, IT and Oculus.
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