Years following the events of "The Shining," a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
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On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep." Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul...Written by
The use of the heartbeat is a homage to The Shining (1980). Throughout Doctor Sleep (2019), the tempo of the heartbeat is used to increase or decrease tension. See more »
When Dan returns to the room his family stayed in at the Overlook, he sees the bathroom door Jack hacked open with the axe and puts his face in the axed open panel, recreating the iconic "Here's Johnny" shot. However, in The Shining, Jack was shown to have hacked both upper panels open to try and get to Wendy, not just the one. See more »
Doctor Sleep is a great film for fans of both King and Kubrick.
Although considered a timeless horror classic by both critics and audiences alike, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) remains famously loathed by Stephen King to this day. Despite the authors widely recognised disappointment with Kubrick's interpretation of his novel, the film has stood the test of time as one of horror cinema's greatest achievements. In 2013, King released a follow-up novel, Doctor Sleep, which provides the basis for Flanagan's latest King adaptation (his second following 2017's Gerald's Game) starring McGregor as a middle-aged Danny Torrance, still haunted by the traumatic events that took place at the malevolent Overlook Hotel decades ago. While regularly attending AA meetings, Danny secures a job at a hospice where he comforts dying patients with a little help from his supernatural abilities, soon acquiring the title of Doctor Sleep as a result of his unorthodox methods. Meanwhile, a group of quasi-immortals operating under the moniker True Knot seek to drain the steam from within supernaturally gifted children who 'shine', just like Danny, in order to retain their youth.
Enter Mike Flanagan (Oculus (2011), The Haunting of Hill House (2018)) who was burdened with the insurmountable task of not only crafting an adaptation that King himself would be proud of, but also a sequel that would impress fans of Kubrick's acclaimed original. Flanagan, who stands as one of modern horror's most prominent writer/directors right now, strikes a perfect balance with Doctor Sleep. It is a film that establishes itself as a completely different beast to Kubrick's film, while also drawing just enough influence from what's come before to please die-hard fans of what Kubrick established with his own vision. Ewan McGregor is well cast as a damaged Danny Torrance, but it's Rebecca Ferguson's captivating performance as Rose the Hat, the enigmatic leader of the True Knot, that steals the show. Fuelled with malevolence, Ferguson's deranged antagonist serves as one of Doctor Sleep's most exciting performances, and she's an absolute joy to watch. Kyliegh Curran also turns in a solid performance as Abra, a gifted young girl who shares a telepathic connection with Danny.
As is often the case with Flanagan's work, jump scares are practically non-existent. Instead, Flanagan focuses on atmosphere and tension to elevate the sequences of terror. During a grueling sequence that displays the True Knot's ability to drain children of their shine, Flanagan chooses not to hold back from depicting a scenario that will undoubtedly unease the most hardened of viewers. Stylistically speaking, Flanagan often channels Kubrick's visionary flairs to replicate certain shots that pay homage to the original film. Although both films are totally different from one another, Doctor Sleep serves as a terrific companion piece to the 1980 classic that fans of both Kubrick and King can appreciate. It's certainly an exciting journey with instances of some amazing cinematography (a sequence involving Rose scouring the night sky is a particularly captivating, dream-like moment), and Flanagan's screenplay is brilliantly paced, completely engrossing, and never dull. Doctor Sleep stands as the best Stephen King adaptation to be released this year, and one of the better horror efforts, too. Simply put, Doctor Sleep truly shines.
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