As a child, Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor) survived his encounter at the Overlook Hotel all those years ago.
He is now an alcoholic adult, drifting from bed to bed, drink to drink – in an attempt to escape from his gift – The Shining – in an attempt to escape from himself.
Danny befriends Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) a teen who is strong with The Shining.
However, Abra attracts the attention of Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her clan of killers, who extend their lives by eating “The Shine” from those who carry the gift.
Danny finally realizes that he cannot hide any longer and must confront the ghosts that have pursued him his entire life.
The world is a dark place, especially when created by Stephen King.
“Doctor Sleep” is a chilling sequel to Stephen King’s classic novel “The Shining,” and is based upon King’s novel of the same name.
Danny has been plagued by darkness his whole life, followed by spirits that feed off fear. His gift attracts these entities begging the question, “Is The Shining a blessing or a curse?”
This brutal, unrepentant film will frighten viewers with a patient horror. There are very few over-the-top scares and jump scares – it is all a slow burning, constantly building stalk toward an inevitable confrontation between good and evil.
Writer/director Mike Flanagan uses “The Shining” in several ways as it emerges from the characters in different ways. If used poorly, this would seem a cheat, but this power is employed perfectly. This intangible is used just enough to create a healthy sense of dread when used by Rose The Hat and plants the seed of hope as Abra and Danny join forces.
The tight dialogue doesn’t get in the way of the story, while the excellent performances fuel the journey.
Curran’s Abra is strong and driven by her moral compass while McGregor’s Danny is tainted by his fear and trauma, yet this classic reluctant hero, steps up when it counts. Ferguson also flexes her acting prowess, as Rose The Hat could have easily become a caricature of evil villains. Instead, her steady menace and confidence emanates a deeper evil – that of a soul already in hell.
There is one scene in this film that was graphic and disturbing. The killing of a child is shown in a horrible, drawn-out scene. It is meant to show the utter malevolence that the “shine eaters” possess, but in showing this scene it also shows our degradation as a society.
“Doctor Sleep” is a tension-filled gem, that is engaging, thoroughly scary and poses a simple question, “What do you believe in?” because the world is a very dark place.