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"Doctor Sleep" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

With some departures from the novel and a rather long build-up, Doctor Sleep manages to salute the book by Stephen King but still tries to go its own way in order to fan-service those who are merely in the theater for The Shining references. Yes, Doctor Sleep novel is a sequel to The Shining but the film makes it as obvious as possible, changing a few things here and there and adding in some truly terrifying moments.

The film follows a now-adult Dan Torrance who is struggling from alcoholism due to the trauma he endured at The Overlook Hotel as a child. He settles down in a small-town in New Hampshire, working at a tourist attraction and a hospice center. Now that he's trying to get sober and clean up his life, his shining ability returns to him. He unintentionally connects with a young girl who is the target of a cult called The True Knot who steal other children's shines in order to achieve long life. Dan now has to protect the young girl, even if that means facing his childhood demons.

First off, let me commend Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson for their terrific performances. Ewan certainly captured Dan's tormented mind and Rebecca was completely terrifying as Rose, the leader of The True Knot. Kyleigh Curran also deserves praise for her depiction of Abra, the young girl Dan is trying to protect.

The terror aspect was so much more immersive compared to The Shining's film. With The Shining, you had to be at least familiar with the story to understand the film. Doctor Sleep not only makes it manageable for people who haven't read the book to understand it but also expands on The Shining, explaining what Kubrick's film didn't. I actually loved that about Sleep.

Overall, I'd say this film is closer to its book than The Shining was to its book. The changes that were made were fairly minor and the additions actually fueled the story. The only real issue I had with the film was that it was a bit overlong and that Emily Alyn Lind seemed like she'd rather be anywhere else.

In conclusion, deviations aside, this is one great film with only a couple slight downfalls. While it did have some intense and frightening moments, it came off as more of a mystery/thriller than a horror, which actually worked to its advantage. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

© 2019 Nathan Jasper


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