4.5 out of 5 stars (one of the best I’ve seen in a long time)
Note: Doctor Sleep contains scenes of alcoholism, child murder, and suicide.
Doctor Sleep is one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen. Like its iconic predecessor The Shining, it’s a purposefully slow-paced supernatural horror film more concerned with character development and building an intense atmosphere than it is with jump scares (though they are chillingly effective when present). Add great performances and a script that respects its audience, and Doctor Sleep shines brighter than I ever imagined.
Psychic Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has spent his life attempting to move on from the events of The Shining and overcome alcoholism. Elsewhere, similarly gifted teen Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) senses malevolent beings led by Rose the Hat (a star-making turn by Rebecca Ferguson) with insidious plans for powered children. When their paths cross, our heroes must fight to survive and face their inner demons head-on.
Doctor Sleep is an absolute classic. Director Mike Flanagan carries over much of the pacing, camerawork, and atmosphere of The Shining while taking the story in new and terrifying directions. If you’ve never seen the original, stop reading this review and rent it immediately unless you enjoy wallowing in utter confusion. Rebecca Ferguson gives a performance as intimidating, unpredictable, and malicious as Heath Ledger’s Joker, and McGregor and Curran provide an emotional core around the supernatural craziness. The film has some distracting product placement and less-than-stellar acting in flashbacks, but is otherwise a terrifying gem.
Doctor Sleep has an engaging story, reverence for its predecessor, and strong performances that assure its future as one of the great horror classics. Make an appointment with Doctor Sleep.
Rated R for Disturbing and Violent Content, Some Bloody Images, Language, Nudity, and Drug Use