REVIEW: Doctor Sleep
Here’s my review for Doctor Sleep which stars Ewan McGregor as the grown up Danny Torrance and directed by Mike Flanagan. Distributed locally by Warner Bros Pictures Philippines. Its also based on a novel by Stephen King.
The official sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining novel sees a new story with Danny Torrance in the lead. Here, Torrance is unwittingly thrust in a situation where he saves a girl with the same powers as he has from a group of vicious men and women called “The Knot” who has plot to kidnap his young “ward” and turn her into a limitless source of steam. While doing so, Danny also needs to make peace with his demons and find a way to use his incredible gifts to stop this threat once and for all.
- Ewan McGregor delivers a competent take on the fractured and hesitant Danny Torrance. On a physical level, he can totally act out both the alcoholic and troubled Danny as well as the mature and caring “Uncle” to Kyleigh Curran’s Abra.
- I loved all the visual throwbacks to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in this one including those subtle nods, those little dialogues “Tony help me”, and even the filmmakers trying to expand on the lives of the protagonists after the events of the first film.
- With my wife as my litmus test, the film was written in such a way that it ensnares viewers into the story despite zero knowledge about the Kubrick film.
- The film’s villains, The Knot, looked awesome onscreen. Them slowly and creepily appearing when they attack had wolves written all over them with the difference being each one of them were sold as powerful “Shining” users who have gone to the dark side.
- The whole development for Danny was done incredibly well. His “skill” is beautifully done too.
- Returning to The Overlook Hotel is also such a treat for me. The revamped version still looks spooky and creepy and as viewers who have seen the original, this felt alien (more on that later).
- Rebecca Ferguson had a lot of great moments here as Rose the Hat. She’s got this sensual and deadly appeal to her in this film. As the film’s main antagonist, she’s also given ample screen time to do sufficient exposition and go through character development. There’s also a bit of two-facedness to her that works extremely well.
- If you’re expecting A LOT of jump scares and gore for this film, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Full-on jump scares weren’t what made “The Shining” such a brilliant film but rather a creepy vibe that you just can’t shake. That’s the same thing that director Mike Flanagan and writer Stephen King wanted.
- I’m really not too keen on how the film ended. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that they wildly steered away from the book for the movie’s ending.
- So while the film’s villains all looked great, they seem to be muddled down by bare characterization. There’s really no way these trained “hunters” can be taken down the way they were taken down in the film. Even the book’s version of their defeat looked a lot better.
- Book characters have a deeper connection than movie version. Not gonna dwell on that.
- CGI characters returning to the film doesn’t sit well with me. That’s the problem when you do a sequel with the first movie done decades ago, there’s a high chance that it doesn’t gel well with the film. This was the case for “Doctor Sleep”.
- For Rose the Hat, there’s just so much logical flaws in her towards the third act. Too bad, I was already liking her as a villain only for the writing to drop towards the end in favor of plot armor and convenience.
- Lastly, the film’s ending was such a downer for me. Sure there’s a bit of bias because of how its different from the book and you could trace the main fault from The Shining. But still, after going through so much, I got this ending which truly disappointed me.
Doctor Sleep will play with your primal fears in its 2 and half hour run time. It pays homage and rips off The Shining too at the same time which fans will like. The visuals and scare factor is high on this one and its satisfying to see things through Danny Torrance’s eyes until the third act.
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