REVIEW — “Doctor Sleep”
The doctor is in!
“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep” continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the supernatural thriller, directed by Mike Flanagan, from his own screenplay based upon the novel by Stephen King.
Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance (McGregor) has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Curran), a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.
Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.
“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep” also stars Carl Lumbly, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Jocelin Donahue, Alex Essoe, and Cliff Curtis.
The film features powerhouse performances from each of its leads. Ferguson is both mesmerizing and terrifying as cult leader Rose the Hat and young Curran dazzles as the clever and powerful Abra.
McGregor anchors the film with a haunted yet tender performance. His Torrance is reluctant to revisit old wounds but is assisted by his desire to help others as well as a few familiar ghosts from his past.
Honestly, this film had me at director Mike Flanagan (“The Haunting of Hill House”) who is becoming a master of terror and has crafted a Shining example of atmospheric horror that superbly balances both King and Kubrick. Flanagan navigates difficult waters to deliver a crowd pleasing adaptation, sequel, and finale to not only King’s source material, but also Kubrick’s masterpiece that itself strays from King’s original book. The music score composed by The Newton Brothers (“The Haunting of Hill House”) also aids the film by echoing the dread of Kubrick’s score.
As beautiful of a film as it is unsettling, “Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep” pulls you in with its dreamlike qualities and lulls you with the comforting thought that there is peace after life’s nightmares. According to the good Doctor, “We go on” after we take our final sleep. Similarly, “Doctor Sleep” will go on in your mind long after you’ve left the theater. 4.5/5