Movie Review: Review: Doctor Sleep makes 152 minutes fly by
Don't run away when you see how long this movie is: 152 minutes. There are much shorter movies that seem a lot longer. The movie starts with some action, perhaps to foreshadow what's to come or a device to quickly engage the audience. It works. Do you really have to have seen the original “Shining?” Not so much, although it would help you identify some of the characters toward the end of the movie and their significance during the original. Blood gushing from the walls, the little twin girls or the desiccated female getting out of the bath tub are all characters from the original.
It starts with the small boy who survived the original but is now a grown man. Still with his “shining,” the ability to see ghosts, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) dampens his abilities with alcohol and illicit drugs. Danny is still visited by his ghost-guide (Zackary Momoh) who offers moral guidance and a directive to help Abra (Kyliegh Curran). Abra is an early teen aware of her precognitive abilities. Abra's parents accept but don't talk about her abilities.
Then there's a group of people called the True Knots led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) that seek out and feed upon those with the “shining.” A true standout performance by Ferguson as the calm, cool and collected leader who matter-of-factly locates those with the “shining” and tortures and murders them as food. Smoke or steam emanates from the victims as they are tortured and murdered. The more pain and fear instilled into the victim, the better the food. Her eyes and facial expressions are key to her character as she directs her group to the victims. Since Abra is coming into her own, her energy is picked up by Rose as Rose learns Abra is very powerful and could probably sustain her group for a long time. Abra is able to get inside Rose's mind and see what's occurring to at least one victim. Abra is devastated and begins a mental communication with Danny.
Danny is on a new path, away from drugs and alcohol, and trying to make sense of his life. But without the numbing effects, his mind is open. But soon Abra finds Danny and explains what Rose and her group are doing. Danny tries to warn her away but to no avail. Abra and Danny team up to take down the True Knots. The whole series of events take place at an even pace, enough to keep you satisfied and not reaching for a pillow.
The final half hour brings Danny and Abra to the Overlook Hotel. Danny has been able to hide away the ghosts of the past in little boxes in his mind. But he plans on letting them out to get Rose. This is where the characters from the original “Shining” make their appearances. Some iconic scenes, like Jack Nicholson peering through a broken door, make cameo appearances with Danny as the Jack Nicholson character. The twins and the boy on the Big Wheel are also there, all coming to the movie's climax.
Danny is Dr Sleep. The reason he got that name is rather poignant and achieved through his time working at a hospice. Those scenes were touching, far from what you'd expect. It is suspenseful and you gain a “what's going to happen next” attitude early on, which probably makes the movie seem shorter than it is. Get a big bucket of popcorn and a drink and settle yourself in. It is rated R for some scenes with blood, nudity and some graphic violence. They’re tastefully done and truly integral to the plot.
I'll give Doctor Sleep 4 out of 5 Miners.