"I don't know about magic. I, I always called it 'The Shining'."
Things move slow or at least that’s what I’ve heard people say. This movie sure took his sweet ass time to get things moving, but once it did it took off and never turned back. One of the greatest facets I appreciated was all the callbacks to the original story. While watching this movie I developed a true appreciation respect, admiration and love for the original film. Which typically might be a bad thing, but in this case, you could tell that was great care and attention that went into it. The biggest star of the movie might’ve been the score and all the callbacks and musical motifs to The Shining. The movie was well written, acted directed, and the production design was a lot of fun too. It boasted some really cool new characters while treating us to some familiar faces as well, even if the actors have been updated. Ewan MacGregor was the perfect actor to play adult Danny Torrence. Wasn't familiar with Rebecca Ferguson coming in, but she knocked her part out the park. Cliff Curtis is always a treat. I best remember him from his small but important role in Training Day. I would like to take a moment to give some props to the child actress who played Abra Stone. I thought Kyliegh Curran was able to portray fierce and headstrong, and adversely also terrified when she needed. Emily Lind as Snakebite Andy is also now on my radar, as she is apparently gifted as well. I do believe it was true to various source material, but ultimately succeeded at doing its own thing as a stand alone film. I wasn’t sure what to make of the antagonist, Rose the Hat and the motives of The true Knot at first. Not because they were unclear, but I was just trying to understand how they operate. I suppose they were villains are fleshed out enough, but it took me a while to grasp the concept of taking in steam that people who possess the Shining give off.
My favorite parts of the movie was the third and final act which takes place mostly at the Overlook Hotel. There are loads of recreated shots and scenes paying homage to the first movie. Also worth noting is the parts where we hear the original theme for the shining which gave me goosebumps in the theatre. Something equally impressive was the brilliant production design. Additionally, the set recreation was magnificent and made a more than fun viewing. Thankfully, this is another film in a long list of sequels that is so good, and so unique that it doesn’t need to be compared to its predecessor. We now have two completely different films and that’s perfectly fine. I think from the very beginning this never stood a chance of being as good as the original film. I didn’t catch it until after everything was all said and done, but the baseball boy was played by Jacob Tremblay from Room, Wonder, and Good Boys. Upon further research it turns out, that was one of the hardest things for the cast and crew the film which makes perfect sense as it was probably the hardest scenes to watch. As a lifelong detractor of the horror genre The Shining is by far my favorite. It’s not your typical horror film in the sense that it lacks cheap jumps scares and needless gore that are now a staple of the genre. Both films do a great job of avoiding the typical horror tropes that I think most fans have come to love from modern horror cinema. I never thought The Shining to be that scary and neither was Dr. Sleep but maybe there needs to be some reevaluation of what something as subjective as "scary" is. Perhaps both films are everything a great horror film should be.
Despite my previous observations of the Horror genre, Doctor Sleep plays out more as a Fantasy/Thriller than a Horror. It winds up being more creepy than it is scary. The visual effects all around were pretty good, and has the benefit of being released in 2019. Meaning there are ways to tell the story made available that The Shining wasn't afforded given its 1980 release year. I think this could be easily one of the best films of the year if you go in with the right expectations. It's received some deserved high praise from critics, despite its less than stellar box office numbers. See it for the amazing premise, the universe in which it's set, the director and writer behind it, and the Actors brought together. Doctor Sleep serves as a worthy follow up to a very popular film. It is not a Ricky Nixx film.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Stephen King (Novel), Mike Flanagan (Screenplay)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran