Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep ★★★

Although I think it sometimes gets a bit side-tracked by trying so hard to be both a spiritual sequel to Kubrick’s film and Stephen King’s material, Doctor Sleep walks a tricky tight rope to deliver a surprisingly chilly and effective film. Mike Flanagan continues to prove himself as one of the best horror auteurs working today. It’s a visceral and stunningly shot film that deals with some weighty themes that pleasantly surprised me. The character work and atmosphere here is truly excellent. Unfortunately, as I said before, I think the film ends up bowing down to the original masterpiece and it isn’t always effective in its recreations and nods. Despite being an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel and King himself hating the original Shining film, make no mistake, Kubrick’s fingerprints are all over this for better or worse.

Ewan McGregor is predictably good in the lead role as grown-up Danny Torrance. I really enjoyed his performance. However, it’s Rebecca Ferguson who absolutely steals the show as Rose the Hat. She is instantly iconic, and it is one of my favorite performances of the year. Overall, I really enjoyed this film. There’s a lot to love here despite some of its missteps. I can’t harp on it too much because living in the shadows of Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick is a tough existence, and I do think the film delivers an audacious and entertaining experience that I think audiences should appreciate. When it works, it really, really works.

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