Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” Review

It’s been 39 years since The Shining was released, I’ve been wanting a sequel for so long. When this was announced, I was so excited. And I was right to be. This film is easily the best horror film of 2019 for me, and I love horror films – it’s my favourite genre.

So, let’s get to the verdict and then on to why!

It was really easy to give it this score – no matter what the paid for critics say – so let’s get on with it!

Ewan McGregor – how could that have gone wrong? Honestly, there is not a single way for it to go wrong. He’s easily one of the best actors around. His portrayal of Danny was perfect – he was exactly like his dad and I think it’s best to say that Ewan does actually look a little like Nicholson – having the tiny bit of family resemblance is a good idea for a film like this.

To make the film even more authentic, I think getting an actor that is known for also suffering from addiction to play as character suffering, battling, and winning over their addiction was perfect. You get the best performance when the actors know how their characters would’ve felt!

The actors from the original, The Shining, were no where to be seen in this film – which sort of makes me happy. Although it would’ve been nice to see Jack make a cameo, it’s good that they replaced them. Mainly because Danny Lloyd no longer looks anything like his The Shining parents, Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. And although Duvall, Lloyd and Nicholson are all splendid actors and are icons in their own right, they really didn’t need to be shown in the sequel, so I’m happy that they weren’t!
We needed Jack to look as he did when he died – not frozen solid in the ending, but as the young dad that he was. Nicholson was 43 when he played Jack, so getting an actor to represent him in the closest way possible was totally the best idea. It made sense, because all the ghosts were seen as they were when they died/decayed.

On to the plot!

Danny has fallen off the wagon, he’s into drugs and alcohol, it’s the only way he’s able to keep the demons of adulthood at bay. But there are flashbacks to when he’s a child, speaking with the Ghost of Dick – the Chef at the Overlook Hotel – who teaches him how to lock bad ghosts into boxes so that they can’t escape.

Later, while trying to run away from himself, he ends up in a little down where he attends AA meetings and gets clean. Jump 8 years into the future, he’s 8 years sober and a little girl, Abra, is no longer little. She also has the Shining.

They communite via a chalk board/wall in Danny’s room until one day another child, with the Shining, is murdered by The True Knot – a bunch of immortals who feed of steam which people with the Shining emit when they feel fatal pain.

The boy is tortured, and Abra witnesses it during her sleep. Her screaming causes a wave of power to go across the continent and breaks the chalk board wall in Danny’s room.

Danny asks what happened, Abra says dead. He asks Who? She says: Baseball boy.

Abra decides to look into the matter, asking for Danny’s help and locating him.

She witnesses Rose, the head of the True Knot crew, and throws her across a supermarket when she’s watching her through her mind.

Rose invades Abra’s mind, finding where she lives. However, Rose gets trapped – having her hand damaged during the fight – and we get to find out that the damage is still there after Rose wakes up from her trance state.

Danny and a friend goes to take out most of the True Knot clan, but Abra is kidnapped.

Danny saves her, and realises that the only place he’s going to be able to protect Abra is by taking her to the Overlook Hotel – a place where it’s dangerous for anyone with the Shining – which includes Rose.

While at the hotel, Danny gets Abra ready and later takes on Rose – freeing all the Ghosts from the boxes in his mind and allowing them to feed on both Rose and himself.

However, after dying, the Overlook hotel – as an entity in itself – takes hold of Danny and uses him as a vessel. He stops himself/the hotel from killing Abra, making sure she gets out safely while he kills the hotel – putting the boiler on full and seeing his mother for the last time as her ghost comes back to greet him.

We’re left with Abra watching the hotel burn while waiting for the police to arrive.

It cuts to a scene where Abra says that she can’t believe he survived – but Danny didn’t survive. Danny died before the blaze – he just made sure it went successfully.

She knows he’s dead, I think. Considering that she knows her mother can’t see him.

The film stops there, exactly where the first film did.

With the hero with Shining dies, where the mother and child survive but the threat is still there.

It was a fantastic film, and I would love for a new series with more about the Shining and people with the ability – both good and bad.

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