Movie Reviews: Doctor Sleep




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     Warner Bros. (2hrs. 31 min.)
    The continuation of Danny Torrance's story 40 years after the terrifying events of Stephen King's “The Shining.”
     Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Zahn McClaron, Emily Alyn Lind
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutlege

As a new horror fan, I am intrigued by how it took almost 40 years to get a sequel to the Shining produced and on the silver screen.  It's something we need to see in other horror movie franchises.  Way too often, horror filmmakers find a new idea and beat it to death, making sequel after sequel.  Doctor Sleep took so long, because they had to tell the right continuation of the story, instead of trying to shootout another film trying to ride the wave of popularity. 

Danny (Ewan McGregor) is grown up and struggles with surviving the Overlook Hotel ordeal and living with his power.  Danny is contacted by someone like him, a young girl who also has “the Shine.” Abra (Kyliegh Curran) is the young girl who has visions of a gang of people who feed off the Shine. These evil creatures are lead by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). They are looking for Abra, and only Danny can help. 

The dedication to rebuilding not only the set of the Overlook hotel, but also the care used in casting people who resemble members of the original cast was an excellent choice. Looking at both actresses who play, Wendy (Danny's mother), Alex Essoe takes on Shelley Duvall's mannerisms and speech patterns. It's an excellent performance that doesn't need CGI to make them look the same. 

Filmmakers sometimes rely on using CGI, but instead Director/Screen writer and Editor Mike Flanagan, chose actors who closely resemble the actors from “The Shining.” (’80)  When a filmmaker wears too many hats on the production, you get a singular vision. Mike Flanagan has avoided the traps and has made an excellent product. 

In an interview Flanagan explained that the Stanly Kubrick's estate shared with him the Overlook Hotel plans from the original film.  He used only some of the original film in brief flashbacks. But there were many new shots, and the detail in the set design is spot on.  It's the little attention to details that blend this movie seamlessly into the original.  

Fans of the original film won't be disappointed. If you haven't seen the original, you won't be left out as there is enough backstory told to keep you up-to-date.  You should absolutely see the original, but it's not needed before going to see this film. 

The performance of Kyliegh Curran, who is carrying this big-budget film with only one other acting credit to her name, shows enormous potential.  Her flexibility in changing characters and emotional range, and playing a person with believable power is incredible. You will need to watch her career. Based on this performance, she has unlimited potential. 

This movie is more thriller than horror, but it has some incredibly hard scenes to watch.  It doesn't pull any punches on showing the darkness of the protagonists. In the opening scenes, they set the stage at how vile and evil they are.  It gets much darker and horrific from there. You may want to bring a pillow, as it can get uncomfortable on the edge of your seat. You will be there from scene one.

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