Doctor Sleep – Film Review DuggystoneRadio By Glenn Barr

Written by on November 13, 2019

Doctor Sleep

was written by Glenn Barr

Moviemakers could have gone down a safe obvious path with a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic horror movie, The Shining, and released a straight to video rip-off not based on Stephen King’s original novel. However, other than the dreadful 1997 TV movie remake, they didn’t get the opportunity. Instead we are presented with a screenplay that succeeds on many levels. Doctor Sleep (based on King’s follow-up book) is faithfully adapted by writer / director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) and it pays homage to elements of Kubrick’s masterpiece, thereby ensuring the target audience is continuously satisfied. This really is a gem!

Doctor Sleep focuses on an adult version of Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) whose younger self (Danny Lloyd) was famously terrorised by Jack Nicholson’s iconic axe-wielding parent, Jack Torrance. McGregor seems to relish underplaying this part and most of his usual charm is toned down to good effect here. Although Danny (Dan) is older, he still has problems embracing his shining skills, quite literally a gift to see the end of life and communicate with others telepathically. Battling alcoholism, a trait handed down from father to son; Dan finds a way to use his gifts supporting terminally ill patients in a nursing home and earns the nickname: Doctor Sleep. Eventually, Dan is contacted by Abra Stone, a young girl (with similar powers) desperately in need of protection against much darker forces.

Those familiar with Kubrick’s original will probably expect the story to jump straight to Danny Torrance’s adulthood. Not the case. Doctor Sleep subtly borrows from The Shining and ensures that tension slowly builds from childhood to adulthood, allowing for several familiar faces to get under our skin. Furthermore, the movie really shifts up a gear when Rose the Hat (an impossibly gorgeous and creepy Rebecca Ferguson) leads an ancient sinister group to acquire Abra’s shining essence, known only to them as regenerating steam. Rather appropriately, Ewan McGregor’s Dan Torrance is Abra’s only hope (cue Star Wars music) for survival, jumpstarting a tense road trip that dances between survival and possible redemption until the bitter end.

Haunting music straight from The Shining reassures and delights in equal measures throughout. Glorious stuff, but does it work? The answer is a resounding yes. Just like its parent before, Doctor Sleep is destined to become a true horror classic. My breath (or steam) was unquestionably taken away. In conclusion, true horror fans will visit the cinema to discover the answer to one nagging question: does Jack Nicholson make an appearance? What kind of a reviewer would I be to give that away? My petrified lips are well and truly sealed!


9.5/10 Almost 10/10! Half a point was removed as the ending feels slightly tacked on from other material. Otherwise, I’m stunned and need to locate a doctor that will prescribe medication for some much-needed sleep!


As we’re also a radio station here is the trailer music to the film

Another brilliant review from our resident film buff

Glenn Barr

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