I wasn’t sure why Doctor Sleep wasn’t being released right before Halloween. Not only is it the official sequel to The Shining, but it’s also (obviously) a Stephen King movie. Of course, most people associate his brand with horror more than any other genre. Because of all of this, putting this out in November didn’t make sense at first, but a little more context and having a better understanding of what the movie actually is makes it easier to understand why.
After catching up with Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) nearly 40 years after the traumatic events that occurred at The Overlook Hotel, we see that his life has been a struggle. But with a lot of work, he’s been making progress while trying to figure out what peace means for him. His search for peace has been good for him, he’s about to be asked to do more. While he only wanted to get better, he soon comes to realize that his abilities and life experience can save lives, soothe souls and help protect a gifted teenager (Kyliegh Curran) who shares similar abilities to his own.
The issue that some people may have with Doctor Sleep is that it’s not much of a horror movie at all. For some reason, I had a strange feeling that it wasn’t going to be one, so I wasn’t shocked when it started up and turned out to be a drama/thriller. For some, it won’t matter if what they get is actually good or not. They might be more disappointed that it’s not actually a scary movie. However, if you go into it knowing what it is, you’re more likely to enjoy it at least to some extent.
One thing that helps this turn this movie into something worth watching is the cast of characters. We obviously catch up with Danny Torrance, but he also shares the screen with some other people who bring with them the kind of personality that’s hard to ignore. That’s usually a big thing for me since I do tend to appreciate character-driven films for the most part.
What I didn’t explain in the synopsis is that a group called The True Knot is threatening the teenager I spoke about. They’re led by Rose the Hat who is played by Rebecca Ferguson. Like the other characters in the film, they all have distinct personalities that make it easy to tell them apart. Some get more time to shine than others, but it’s nice to see extra detail in an age when that’s not always seen as important.
Anyway, the only thing that bothered me about any of the characters came from Rebecca Ferguson. Now, I think she was exceptional overall, but there’s a bit of a problem with her accent. Even if you don’t know much about her, you’ll probably be able to tell that she’s not American. That’s because she kept slipping out of her faux American accent and into her actual British accent. While it’s doesn’t do great damage to her performance, it was distracting and took me out of the flow of the film on a couple of occasions.
Aside from the performances, another positive feature is the soundtrack. While this is not a horror movie, it certainly has the kind of music that you would normally find in one. Predictably, much of what’s used is similar to what was heard in The Shining. And even though it’s not the same kind of movie as its predecessor, the music fits Doctor Sleep just as well and proved to be a nice touch.
As a fan of horror, I would have preferred a genuine scary movie here, but I left feeling satisfied with it being a drama/thriller instead. This is a good film with fine storytelling and quality acting. My only real gripe with it is that it’s a little too long. I guess I wasn’t all that fond of the ending either. While not completely deflating, it’s kind of predictable. And I know why it ends the way it does, but it doesn’t fit this specific movie that well in my opinion.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan
Emily Alyn Lind
Film Length: 152 minutes
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Score - 7/107/10