Ewan McGregor plays a grown up Danny Torrance who is having trouble with life and his past before he is contacted by Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), who, like Danny, has the ‘Shining’. Abra has become a target of the True Knot cult lead by Rose the Hat ( Rebecca Ferguson) who feed on the Shining to live longer and are getting desperate.
The attention to detail specifically regarding elements that came about in the previous film is incredible. We are given an insight into Danny’s personal ghosts and memories associated with his stay at the Overlook as a child and the blanks are filled in from where we left off in The Shining. Such detail made for a movie experience I have never really had before such a long movie, but I was never bored. Nothing felt unanswered, we get the introduction to the new horrifying group ‘True Knot’ and we witness their horrific crimes, but we also follow Danny and his struggles and watch as he confronts his fears and his past.
It’s a long film for sure, but as the story progresses the film only becomes more engaging and enjoyable. The tension only rises and so do the stakes as we get to know our protagonist and his new ‘pen pal’ so well. Like Stanley Kubricks ‘The Shining’ there are not only great jump scares but awfully unsettling atompshere which is heightened by a ‘beating heart’. In that sense, it’s artistic like the film before it but all the more entertaining.
The cast of Doctor Sleep was exceptional and the film has a whole shines brightest when it focuses on its characters and their human side. The awkward friendship between Dan and his pen pal Abra was the most charming part about the film and Kyliegh Curran’s presence glows in an otherwise bleak atmosphere. Ewan McGregor manages to convincingly embody Danny Torrance, conveying the fear of the little boy who we last saw fleeing The Outlook hotel and the strength of the man who needs to confront what traumatised him as a child in order to save other children.
Despite its warm heart when it comes to character development and relationships, Doctor Sleep doesn’t skimp on the horror. The film packs in many nightmarish moments and there is a terrible unsettling feel to the film, especially after a certain scene starring Jacob Tremblay who is kidnapped after his game of baseball, which is distressing on an industrial scale. The center of all that horror however is not the murders, but the character Rose The Hat. Rebecca Ferguson brings delicously evil performance to the table, and is detestable in her actions. Her super creepy ‘Well hi there’ when she finds who she wants is enough to send a shiver up your spine.
Is It A Worthy Sequel?
Doctor Sleep is incredibly detailed, engaging and tense. It goes on to explain the ‘shine’ better than it’s predecessor does and it takes everything that worked well in it; the tension and the incredible visuals, and compliments it very well rather than feeling like a slave to the original. Even without the connection to The Shining, on its own Doctor Sleep is an emphatic horror film that is not an easy watch, but with a brilliant narrative and twists throughout, you find yourself immersed in the film and left thinking about it long after. This is a must see.