40 years ago The Shining was released. It’s a film directed by Stanley Kubrick, adapted from the Stephen King novel with the same name.
I never read the book, but the movie was a harrowing, slow burning piece of horror that introduced audiences to the Torrances, the Overlook Hotel, and “the shine”. If you’ve seen the film, then you already know the events and all the classic moments we got from it. Insane Jack Nicholson, “red rum”, the twins, the bloody hallway, the maze, and that photo at the end of the movie. If you haven’t seen The Shining, then I’m wondering why you are still reading this. Stop reading, go watch it, then come on back!
Now that we are all caught up let’s fast forward to 2019. Mike Flanagan wrote the screenplay and directed Doctor Sleep, which serves as the follow up to The Shining. This movie, adapted from the 2013 King novel of the same name, was excellent! Bravo to Flanagan because the story delivers. I enjoyed how it starts right after The Shining ended, and we see a new manifestation of evil in the True Knot, a cult whose members prey on people who shine. The events of The Shining still haunt Danny, but the spirit of Dick Hallorann (the chef Danny’s dad killed in The Shining) teaches him how to use his powers to keep the evil spirits from possessing him like they did his father. After 40 years go by, Danny, now going by Dan, has become an alcoholic drifter, and his lifestyle has suppressed his powers. The True Knot, led by Rose The Hat, has still been hunting and killing “shiners”, and Rose feels the energy of Abra (portrayed awesomely by newcomer Kyliegh Curran), whose ability to shine manifested very early and very strong. Rose gets another taste of just how strong Abra can be during a very intriguing cat and mouse situation, and that’s when the story turns up a few notches. Rose The Hat is BRUTAL!! I very much enjoyed her portrayal by Rebecca Ferguson. Her on screen presence is evil, yet stunning. I’ve had eyes on her since M:I: Rogue Nation. My man Obi-Wan was good as older Danny. He does something in the movie that made me laugh, and I probably shouldn’t have. Oh well! It was cool to see how Dan’s story comes full circle in this movie, and the expansion of the narrative on how the shine works connected the films nicely. McGregor and Curran were great on screen together. Curran really holds her own with seasoned actors and actresses. I like what Flanagan did with the camera work and the score. It felt like a tribute to what Kubrick established. There were plenty of other little things in Doctor Sleep that paid homage to The Shining, so I recommend watching The Shining before seeing Doctor Sleep. That’s what I did before my first viewing. Fandango hosted an early access screening on October 30th, so I went to my local AMC to check it out. I enjoyed the flow of the film although I think the run time could have been decreased by 15 to 20 minutes. That was my only gripe about the movie. When comparing Doctor Sleep to The Shining, I like Doctor Sleep a tad more. It’s classified as “horror”, but the movie itself isn’t scary. It’s more suspense thriller, but that aspect is one of the reasons I liked it more. This film looks better also. That’s not really a mark against The Shining. Just a sign of the times. I really dug the True Knot as the villains. The conflict throughout the film was intense. I saw Doctor Sleep again this past Tuesday. Discount Tuesdays never do me wrong! It’s a shame the movie isn’t doing great numbers in the box office but The Shining didn’t either. Fans of The Shining will likely enjoy this follow up. Among my movie circles I haven’t heard anyone say they were disappointed when they saw it. I wouldn’t mind visiting the Overlook one more time! It just might become a cult classic….