DOCTOR SLEEP (REVIEW)
Dir. Mike Flanagan
Reviewer. Dan Cook
As a long-time fan of both Stephen King’s horror novel THE SHINING and Stanley Kubrick’s mesmerising 1980 cinematic adaptation, I was both excited and apprehensive to watch Mike Flanagan’s big-screen representation of King’s eagerly anticipated sequel DOCTOR SLEEP. Starring Ewan McGregor as a now grown-up Danny Torrance, the film sees the trauma-ridden Danny trying to deal with the ghosts of his past and well as the demons of his present - demons in the form of a soul-eating cult, led by the diabolical Rose (Rebecca Ferguson) who torture, murder and feast on the psychic powers of those who “shine”.
With OCULUS, HUSH and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Mike Flanagan is one of, if not the best and most reliable directors working in the horror genre right now and DOCTOR SLEEP only adds to his extraordinary reputation. Not only does he manage to successfully emulate multiple set pieces and iconic set-ups from the Kubrick original but he simultaneously, and rather miraculously, manages to keep his own distinctive directorial flair fully intact. With sweeping camera moves and a consistently dynamic look, ‘Doctor Sleep’ is just as cinematographically stunning and as artistically pleasing as it’s iconic axe-wielding older brother.
As every perfect sequel should, DOCTOR SLEEP works fully in tandem with it’s predecessor, using the legacy of it’s original to enhance the impact of it’s characters and narrative ramifications. Crucially however, DOCTOR SLEEP is not only a great sequel to a very great film but it is also a great film in it’s own regard. Yes, fans of THE SHINING can enjoy the numerous visual Easter eggs and instantly familiar Wendy Carlos audio cues scattered throughout but more importantly, the film can be enjoyed just as much by those who have no prior knowledge of the original Kubrick movie at all.
The plot is consistently intriguing and thrilling, the dialogue is memorable, the new scares are genuinely scary and the performances, particularly those from Rebecca Ferguson and Ewan McGregor, are uniformly wonderful. I loved it and can’t wait to watch it in a double bill as soon as possible. Kubrick and Flanagan - now that’s a night well spent.