Although lacking in Stanley Kubrick flare and the eery rage of Jack Nicholson, Doctor Sleep is the most ideal continuation of The Shining – 40 years in the making.
Since the traumatic events of his youth, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has not been able to catch a break. Still plagued by the ghosts of the Overlook hotel, Danny has turned to alcohol to numb his pain and is constantly on the run from himself. Ending up in a small town, Danny decides to try to clean up his act and takes a job as an orderly at a hospice. It’s the perfect job for Danny, as he can truly comfort the residents at death’s door.
Meanwhile, the sensual and mysterious Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) enjoys her time spent in the world hunting children that shine – or otherwise have any psychic abilities. Rose and her convey feed on these children and in turn are granted extended lifetimes. Rose is incredibly powerful and Ferguson plays her beautifully. Rose was able to entrance you with her lilting speech and then turn on you within seconds. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. She walks with the confidence of someone who has faced the centuries and always comes out on top.
Rose captures a child for the convey’s next meal, and in the midst of the feeding – one of the most graphic scenes of violence I’ve seen against a child in all of my years of watching horror I might add – Rose feels the presence of someone watching them. The presence is none other than Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), an extremely gifted young teen who wants to put an end to the epidemic of missing children.
Abra is by far my favorite character of the film. She was innocent and yet fearless. Abra contained an inner strength and a confidence that was admirable. The final showdown between Rose and Abra was completely satisfying to watch.
The Shining has always been a favorite of mine and I loved to see all the callbacks to the original. Admittedly, it was a bit strange to see others playing the role of Jack and Wendy Torrance but I will say that the actors were able to capture the mannerisms of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall fairly well. Doctor Sleep presents a perspective that is both fresh and undeniably creepy. This film is definitely worth a watch even if to only revisit the Overlook hotel that has haunted so many of our psyches throughout the years. I’m looking forward to purchasing the DVD for a Shining movie marathon at my next movie night!