Doctor Sleep: Movie Review

Sequels. They rarely match or even surpass the original. More so if that film is regarded as one of the classics made by one of the industry's legends. As a matter of fact, it's a miracle that someone was brave enough to green-lighting "Doctor Sleep". But we're so glad they did. What we get is a sequel well worth its source material and a fitting and satisfying conclusion to "The Shining".

Forever scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine”. Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality. Forming an alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of his past.
From the first scene, you know "Doctor Sleep" is dead serious about making a strong narrative about Danny Torrance and his life after the Overlook Hotel. In fact, if the running time of two and a half hours doesn't clue you in to how much depth and detail this goes into, we don't know what will. Surprisingly, even with its long running time, we never found ourselves over-burdened or particularly bored. The film in our opinion was well-paced and well-structured splitting the narrative into easily digestible chunks focusing on Danny as a kid, Danny as an adult, the villainous and visceral True Knot, and Abra Stone, a young girl with an unusually strong case of "the shining". If you're expecting a film full of terror then "Doctor Sleep" might not float your boat as the horror aspect takes the back seat. The frights that haunted "The Shining" eventually show themselves in full bloom but it will take almost the whole running time before they do. The film ultimately focuses more on its characters and their back stories and motivations and building the lore that explains what the heck is going on especially with the True Knot. Speaking of the True Knot, Rebecca Ferguson was simply amazing as the film's main villain. Her role was frightening and disturbing as the murderous leader of a cult who feeds on children. Overall, "Doctor Sleep" is different from "The Shining" in a lot of ways and we loved it for that fact. It found a way to seamlessly integrate with its predecessor while building its own lore and feel to make it a substantial and satisfying experience on its own.
Rating: 5 reels

Why you should watch it:
- heavily builds upon the characters from the original film
- Rebecca Ferguson was simply scary and amazing at the same time

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the horror aspect takes a back seat against its narrative

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