Imran Yusuf | 3/11/2019
Doctor Sleep is a satisfying sequel to The Shining for confirmed ghost story and horror film addicts alike, despite its exceedingly long runtime.
Ewan McGregor plays a middle-aged Dan Torrance who is now an alcoholic drifter, that doesn’t shine so bright anymore, and is actively trying to run away from himself and his memories of Overlook Hotel. Meanwhile, a group of nomadic psychics, known as The True Knot, are on a quest to devour those that shine and have caught wind of an exceptionally gifted, young individual named Abra Stone, who is played by Kyleigh Curran. Seeing himself in Abra, Dan realises he cannot keep running away from his childhood traumas and that he has a debt to repay by helping Abra survive this ordeal.
Directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep is a film adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 horror novel of the same name. Unlike other book-to-film adaptations that are often criticised for being too short to tell the story well, Doctor Sleep boasts a monstrous two-and-a-half-hour film length. That’s an uncomfortably long period of time to sustain high levels of adrenaline at! Luckily for your general wellbeing, Doctor Sleep didn’t won't leave you in this predicament.
Don’t get me wrong, Doctor Sleep is a solid horror film: it just doesn’t try too hard to be a horror film and instead focuses on telling an intriguing story that not only does justice to the Doctor Sleep novel, but The Shining novel as well (you’ll have to watch the movie to find out what that means). While not overly scary, the film’s score, produced by The Newton Brothers, does a brilliant job at creating a creepy atmosphere which is only enhanced by the artistic and technical decisions of cinematographer, Michael Fimognari.
Ewan McGregor’s performance in the film was thoroughly enjoyable as well as Rebecca Ferguson’s portrayal of The True Knot leader, Rose the Hat. While there were moments in the film where the differences in acting ability between experienced actors and less-experienced actors interacting with one another takes you out of the moment, this only happened a couple of times and the film was always able to re-immerse the audience back into the story. Overall, the cast performance was pretty good.
If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s work, you won’t be disappointed with the Doctor Sleep book-to-film adaptation.