The much-awaited sequel to Stephen King's The Shining, Doctor Sleep, has finally released. While many have been debating over the fact of whether The Shining did need a sequel or was it just present there for nostalgia purpose. Perhaps Stephen King didn't really think of it when he wrote the sequel, at least not the commercial aspect of the book. He probably just had a fun idea which he wanted to explore. Hence, the question remains, whether The Shining needed a film sequel which has been adapted from the book, Doctor Sleep? Well, we managed to get a look at the hyped film which stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and Kyleigh Curran in pivotal roles. Was the film necessary and did it live up to the horrors of The Shining? Find out below.
Following the events of The Shining, a now older Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) suffers from ghosts of his past. But little does he expect that he will have to face his past demons to face the new ones that are after the one friend he has made with a similar 'shine' like him. While Dan, now working at hospice orderly, manages to strike up an unusual friendship with a young girl, Abra Stone (Kyleigh Curran) through his blackboard, sinister episodes are taking place thanks to the cult going by the name, The True Knot.
In order to remain immortal with their special powers by feeding on the 'shine' of young children, the True Knot has thrived through several ages and eras now. Their supposed leader, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) is leading them to prey on young children with special powers and even propelling her cult to kill them as pain and fear make the 'shine' delectable.
Everything changes for them as well as Dan and Abra's simple lives when their paths cross. As Abra's ultimate powers are discovered by Rose, she is ready to go to extreme lengths along with her cult to make Abra their next prey. To save Abra and free himself from the horrors of his past, Dan must once again, visit the haunting Overlook Hotel one last time and face all the ghosts he once locked away in caskets. Doctor Sleep Trailer: Ewan McGregor's The Shining Sequel is Here to Spook You Again With Major Callbacks and the Return of 'Redrum'
Direction-wise, Doctor Sleep certainly has a lot of Kubrick-inspired style of filmmaking. You will see long stretches of silences or simple talks or exchange of glances just to build up the sequence. Even in terms of the music, they have tried to bring back some of the creepy tones from The Shining such as the suspense music which shot to fame. Mike Flanagan clearly tried to fit into the director's chair with Stanley Kubrick written on it. To a certain extent, he even managed to justify the same. However, that was shortlived as the second half seemed to dull the pace and narrative.
I have to admit, the film started off on a good note but seemed to have been stretched a bit too much. Yes, it is difficult to fit the essentials of a book in a feature film. However, even with Doctor Sleep, many things could have been edited out and cut short. Several scenes could have been avoided but that would have been at the expense of the filmmaker and the writer's vision. Many scenes and components were borrowed from The Shining such as 'REDRUM', the creepy twin girls in the hallway, the boiler tank, room 237 and more. This did add some nostalgic value to the sequel but it only had a brief presence in the script.
Needless to say, the cast is strong so the performance by everyone was good. Rebecca Ferguson and Ewan McGregor with their diverse personalities in the film did make an impact. Theirs are two characters you will certainly remember even after you leave the theatres. Even young Kyleigh Curran did a good job as the bold and unafraid Abra Stone. The music was decent but it seemed like they had forced suspense tracks in scenes where they had no place.
- Introduction of characters such as Rose, Abra, Billy and Crow
- Impeccable build-up with Kubrick-style filmmaking
- Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and Kyleigh Curran
- Brilliant first half
- Good cast
- Decent background score
- Unimpressive placement of sound effects
- Gets a little muddled by the end
- Way too long
- Could have been shot better
- Mediocre editing
Despite some of its flipside, Doctor Sleep still manages to strike the right chords of nostalgia with their placement of several iconic moments from The Shining. The cast is super strong and manages to keep the audience hooked even as the 'shine' starts to diminish as the filmmaker reaches the end. The way the loose ends are tied could have been better. Nevertheless, the film manages to live up to the expectations of a Stephen King story. Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen King's novel by the same name, is worth watching. You don't come across a good horror movie nowadays so keeping that in mind and avoiding the unnecessary jump scares, Doctor Sleep is definitely worth the money.