The Shining returns in this sequel that poses to be an excellent adaptation of Stephen King’s novel with the author even giving his stamp of approval.
It has been thirty-one years since Danny Torrance has dealt with the incident involving his father at the Overlook Hotel. Since then, Dan has sporadically been able to talk to the ghost of his old friend Dick Halloran, who suggests that Dan build boxes to trap the spirits of those who had plagued the hotel, who now want his power. Much like his father, Dan had resorted to alcoholism and hopes to start life anew. Moving to New Hampshire and under the care of new friend Billy, Dan goes to rehab and finds a job where he uses his shining powers to help those on their deathbeds find peace as they hold their last breath.
Meanwhile, the True Knot, a band of psychic vampires have been stealing the steam of those with shining powers. Eight years after Dan’s move and his sobriety has made him a much better man, Dan learns about the True Knot through a thirteen-year-old girl, Abra Stone. Abra, like Dan is a shiner, but a very powerful one at that. When Abra envisions and sees a young boy being killed by the Knot, the cult’s leader Rose the Hat, takes notice and begins a quest to find Abra to steal her steam. When Dan learns of Abra’s nature, he goes against the odds to help her but in order to succeed, he will have to face the one thing he never imagined having to face again: his past demons.
In 2013, Stephen King surprised everyone when he unleashed a sequel to his classic novel The Shining in Doctor Sleep, which revolves around an adult Dan Torrance. Well revered by fans and critics, it would come to no surprise that a movie version would be made eventually. Enter Mike Flanagan, who would go on to write the script and direct this film, which stands out as much more than a sequel. He brought elements of the 1980 Stanley Kubrick adaptation during the film’s flashback sequences along with the story in the sequel, which revolves around adult Dan, who struggles with both past demons and his power as an adult.
Ewan McGregor is excellent as the adult Dan Torrance, who we see resort to alcoholism to suppress his shining powers because he sees it more as a burden rather than a positive. In the vein of The Sixth Sense, we see Dan communicate with his old friend Dick, now played by Carl Lumbly, replacing the late Scatman Crothers. At the same time, we see Dan deal with the past when he finds spirits from the original film and locks them up in imaginary boxes as a way to suppress him demons. We also see him find peace when he moves to New Hampshire and meets new friend Billy, played by Cliff Curtis and goes to rehab, where he meets his boss at the hospice, played by Bruce Greenwood.
Rebecca Ferguson is excellent as Rose the Hat, the ageless leader of the vampiric True Knot cult. She plays the role with a sort of 60s hippie vibe meshed with a sense of femme fatale-like terror when she unleashes her power against those who have the shining powers. She plays the role with such sheerness and fun but at the same time giving off this very creepy vibe. Newcomer Kyliegh Curran is also great as Abra Stone, the teenager who not only befriends Dan, but relies on him to help her escape the True Knot. Kudos goes out to Zahn McClarnon in the role of Crow Daddy, a member of the cult and Emily Alyn Lind as Snakebite Andi, a new member of the Knot who has the power of mind manipulation.
In the end, Doctor Sleep is a worthy sequel to The Shining, with excellent performances by Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Kyliegh Curran in a war for power while one must confront past demons to successfully stop the evil threat.
WFG RATING: A
Warner Brothers Pictures presents an Intrepid Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment production. Director: Mike Flanagan. Producers: Jon Berg and Trevor Macy. Writer: Mike Flanagan; based on the novel by Stephen King. Cinematography: Michael Fimognari. Editing: Mike Flanagan.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Carel Struycken, Selena Anduze, Robert Longstreet, Catherine Parker, James Flanagan, Met Clark, Zackary Momoh, Jocelin Donahue, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, Alex Essoe, Roger Dale Floyd, Jacob Tremblay.