“Doctor Sleep” keeps viewers on the edge of their seats

Image courtesy of IMDb

Abby Morley, Lode Writer

“The Shining” was undoubtedly one of the biggest movies of the 80s and, to many fans, one of the best movies of the 80s and books of all time. “The Shining” has earned its title and respect by many horror fans around the world as well as having the honor of having been made into countless memes. The idea that Stephen King would write a sequel to the novel isn’t all that far fetched, and the film industry deciding to profit off a movie of the sequel is also understandable.

MTU Film Board recently hosted a showing of the sequel “Doctor Sleep” on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of last weekend.  “Doctor Sleep,” directed by Mike Flanagan ( also the director of “Hush,” “Gerald’s Game” and “Before I Wake”) and starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and Cliff Curtis, is an interesting tale that mixes elements of fantasy, horror, and drama together and offers a curious and well-deserved nod to its well-known predecessor.

“Doctor Sleep” picks up right off of the original when Dan (the young son from the “The Shining”) and Wendy (Jack’s wife) leave the dreaded hotel and vow to never return. Dan has a special psychic ability called The Shine where he can sense future events, contact people through his mind and even see things from the past. The two move to Florida where Dan’s ghosts from the hotel still haunt him and his psychic abilities. Dan meets Dick Hallorann, who becomes a sort of mentor to him and encourages his Shine. As the years go by, Dan grows up to become an alcoholic who wants to suppress his Shine but cannot completely.

Meanwhile, a cult of psychic vampires called The True Knot are murdering children and inhaling their essence from their Shine to make them live longer. As Dan recovers from alcoholism, he meets a young girl named Abra who she discovers can contact him through her mind. As the brutal murders continue from The True Knot, Abra sets out to meet Dan. This begins a journey between Dan and Abra to try and stop the cult and seek revenge for the children they have murdered, leading to a bond developing between the two.

“Doctor Sleep” is a movie that pulls you in right from the start with its fantastically well-written characters, depiction of illnesses such as alcoholism and its suspense-driven plotline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The actors in the film all do an incredible job with their role, especially Ewan McGregor as the beaten-down but resilient Dan Torrance who tries to overcome his demons day by day. Rebecca Ferguson plays the brutal but beautiful leader of the True Knot, and Kyleigh Curran plays Abra Stone, the naive and clever teen sidekick.

Fans will certainly notice the more obvious similarities and differences between “Doctor Sleep” and “The Shining” such as the visit to the terrifying Overlook Hotel, the return characters from the original such as the twins, the woman in the bathroom, the bartender who shares a very close resemblance to Jack Torrance, and fans will, of course, remember “REDRUM” being written on mirrors and doors. The more subtle similarities and differences between the two films include the slight color differences on the carpet and in the bathroom of the hotel to represent change and growth in the main character, Danny.  All of these elements combine to make a film that, complete with on-brand violence, creates a show-stopping film that any “Shining” fan would enjoy.