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Doctor Sleep (2019) – Advanced Screening Review

The World Will Shine Again.

The Shining (1980) Review – Link To Review

“Eat Well and Live Long”

Release Date: November 8th, 2019
Length: 2H 31M
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Heerrrrrrreeeeeee’s ANDREW! (sorry a little Shining joke for you).

I’ve had an interesting relationship with Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (1980). I remember hearing about it for years, and finally watching it when I was in high school… I absolutely hated it the first time I watched it. I thought it was overrated, and I just did not understand why this film was so revered. But there was something about that film, that made me watch it again, I thought perhaps it was just my mood at the time, and my opinion on it completely changed. What a masterpiece of an atmospheric horror, the film is genuinely creepy, the score is haunting, the acting is very well done and on top of all, you have a brilliantly directed film by the master Stanley Kubrick.

Flash forward almost 40 years later, we have a sequel to The Shining (1980) in the form of Doctor Sleep. I remember reading about this book by Stephen King being turned into a movie, and I was immediately interested. I loved The Shining, and I was intrigued to see how Stephen King would continue the story of Danny Torrence. After that first trailer, I was engrossed.

Doctor Sleep is a Drama, Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller set years after the events of ‘The Shining,’ a now-adult Dan Torrence meets a young girl with similar powers as he tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

Doctor Sleep is directed and written by Mike Flanagan. Flanagan’s filmography consists of Oculus (2013), and Hush (2016). He also was the director and creator of The Haunting Of Hill House {TV Series} (2017) which has been on my list for a while, but I haven’t sat down to watch it yet, but I absolutely will start that today. Mike Flanagan is one hell of a accomplished horror director, Oculus (2013) was a cool, original concept movie and Hush (2016) was even cooler. So when I heard that Flanagan was pinned to adapt Doctor Sleep, I knew it was in good hands. Flanagan has an eye for detail in horror movies, he also has these really unique concepts that he utilizes in his films to give it an edge. He is not so much a “i’m going to show you everything, and leave nothing to your imagination” style of director. He shows you just enough to get your mind wandering and filling in the blanks with whats going on. There are some REALLY brutal scenes in this movie, its dark, its twisted, and my word does it ever pay off. There were even some scenes in this movie that reminded me a lot of a Kubrick style shot. Which if you read my The Shining (1980) Review, you’d know I was infatuated with. I think Mike Flanagan should be “The person” to adapt Stephen King’s works; he is obviously extremely good in his execution to directing them and Stephen King has really appreciated his work. If you ever see Mike Flanagan’s name attached to a movie, you know you’re in for quality.

Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrence, Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat, Kyliegh Curran as Abra Stone and Cliff Curtis as Billy Freeman

Ewan McGregor’s filmography consists of Trainspotting (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), Big Fish (2003), The Impossible (2012), Beauty And The Beast (2017), Fargo {TV Series} (2017), and Christopher Robin (2018). I have always really enjoyed Ewan McGregor’s work, He is an extremely talented actor, who has taken a lot of chances with his career; which is nice to see. I found McGregor absolutely captivating in this movie. I thought he really captured the broken essence of someone who has suffered a really traumatic childhood that has carried onto adulthood. I felt like I could really sympathize with him, and understand him due to how well he performed in this movie.

Rebecca Ferguson’s filmography consists of Mission Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation (2015), and Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018). I didn’t even realize that Ferguson was even in this movie, I have limited knowledge of her acting background except for the two Mission Impossible movies, so I did not know what to expect from her role. I thought she was creepy as hell, and she played it so well. She was daunting the entire movie, like her force and shadow I felt just jutted over every scene in the movie, even the scenes that she was not in. I feel like it was very “The Shining” in that effect. In The Shining (1980), there was always that lingering effect of some characters that just infected your brain and you were a little panicked and on edge because you didn’t know when they would appear again, Rose The Hat was just that character for me in this film.

Kyliegh Curran’s filmography consists of nothing else I have seen. Curran deserves all the recognition, what a strong, young, up and coming actor. Usually with child actors; I guess depending on the film, I get a little like “okay thats good enough, you can go back to the older actors now” but with Curran’s acting ability and everything, I was so captivated by her performance. She is very relatable, as is McGregor in this movie and I felt they both had great chemistry together. I can’t wait to see where Curran’s career goes, because I think she is going to go far.

Cliff Curtis’ filmography consists of The Insider (1999), Blow (2001), Training Day (2001), The Fountain (2006), Sunshine (2007), Live Free Or Die Hard (2007), and The Meg (2018). I always have enjoyed Curtis’ acting. He has a very striking face that you instantly recognize, but I never remembered his name. He is just a great actor, he does well with the material put in front of him and I just really enjoyed his acting in this movie. There were some really subtle quirks that he put on screen that I felt added a lot to the overall feel and tone of the movie.

I thought the acting was really well done in this movie by the entire cast. They had great chemistry, even the opposing force in this movie had great chemistry.

The music from the original Shining is back and it adds to the movie just like the original did. Not in so much a fan service way, but it is very hard to get the feel for The Shining without that classic music; its almost a character in and of itself. It felt deliberate, much like Kubrick’s filmmaking.

I did have some little nitpicks with this movie, just a few because I hold The Shining (1980) in such high regard. I do not want to go into any spoilers though, so I’ll just say there was one scene in the final act, that REALLY took me out of the movie. I just kind of questioned what was going on, and it was harder for me to “believe” what was happening on screen. I feel like they could have handled that scene better. It just didn’t sit right with me.

Despite my issues with this movie, this movie delivered me my favourite scene of the year. I will not spoil it, but it happens in the third act. If you’re a fan of The Shining, it will feel very very familiar to you. When this scene happened, after having such a build up, it is extremely earned. I had my hands on my mouth because I didn’t want to let out a gleeful noise that would disrupt the audience, it took everything I had not to just stand up and clap. Which is probably a good thing, I don’t think my legs would’ve worked probably after the emotion and feeling I had. My legs were heavy and floaty. I went from a warm feeling to a complete 180 cold feeling, and my entire body was tingling. That feeling was the entire feeling of the 3rd act, except the scene that took me out of it. But holy, was it ever effective for me.

I give Doctor Sleep a 5/5. I will absolutely be adding it to my 4K collection as soon as I’m able to purchase it, and I will be returning to the theatre for another watch. This is my favourite film of the year so far, in a year where there have been some REALLY great films in my opinion.

Until Next Time, Keep Shining!

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