“Doctor Sleep”, directed by Mike Flanagan, is an adaptation of the novel by Stephen King and a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s classic, and masterpiece, “The Shining” (1980), written by Stephen King. “Doctor Sleep” follows the kid from the Shining, Danny Torrance, played by Ewan McGregor in the present day. “Doctor Sleep” is slow in its storytelling but downright amusing in its suspense.
This movie’s runtime might concern some people at two and a half hours, but the pace is slow and builds up to an epic climax. The movie is a little dragging in its story, but it’s deserving of it. The movie is all about building character instead of relying on jump-scares and nostalgic value due to the fact it’s based on a pulp classic.
“Doctor Sleep” focuses very well on telling a story instead of recreating scenes from “The Shining.” Flanagan understands that you need to tell a good story before you remind people that it’s even a sequel.
The acting and writing in the film are the two main highlights. McGregor is outstanding at portraying a hurt, traumatized child turned into a depressed, recovering alcoholic adult wanting to use his power for good. The young character Abra, played by Kyleigh Curran, has one of the best child performances of the year. She should be compared to the child acting in movies and shows such as “It” and “Stranger Things.” Her acting is gratifying every second she’s on screen. In most horror movies, the little kids are misunderstood or they don’t make smart decisions, yet this time it’s flipped, and Curran plays a very smart kid dealing with this power as well.
Flanagan wrote and edited “Doctor Sleep” and he does both very well. The movie’s build up is tense, and the writing is also very dense. The story and the editing make the movie intriguing and invite you looking for details and clues foreshadowing other events. This movie presents itself more assuredly as a mystery than a horror film.
The only flaw is that the scares and special effects weren’t convincing at times. Mostly the effects were very realistic and almost disturbing; however, near the end they feel a little silly and unnecessary. The ending is exciting and fun, but it kind of ends things too fast after the amazing build-up.
Flanagan deserves a lot of credit for understanding how to write and direct a good horror/mystery movie that instead of just having a jump-scare happen every five seconds, he makes sure that there is a good story, solid dialogue, and well-directed talented actors to earn a fun nail-biting experience. “Doctor Sleep” didn’t blow me away like other recent horror movies such as “Hereditary” or “Get Out” did, but I think this was an engaging and well-deserved sequel to one of the most celebrated horror movies ever made. 8/10
Peter Kannikal, Staff Reporter