As you might know, I am a huge Stephen King fan. Thus, when Doctor Sleep came out in theaters, I was extremely excited to see it. Doctor Sleep is a 2019 movie based on the Stephen King novel that was released in 2013 as a sequel to The Shining. The movie was directed by Mike Flanagan, who was also given the job of rewriting the original movie script from 2013 (after the release of the novel) and tying every loose end together.
Doctor Sleep takes place many years after King’s first novel, The Shining, that resulted in the character Danny Torrance, as well as his mother and father staying in the Overlook Hotel. The Overlook Hotel was haunted, which introduces Danny’s psychic powers called his “shining.” While Danny and his mother escape the hands of the hotel (and Danny’s father), they move to Florida where they will never see snow again. Considering the Overlook Hotel was in the snow-covered hills of Colorado. As Danny and his mother cozy into their new home, Danny starts to receive visits from the Overlook’s spirits who are hungry, as they have no life to feed off of, which resulted from the hotel’s abandonment. He learned to harness his “shine” and is then able to essentially lock the spirits away in his mind, until he decides when the time is right to let them be free.
As Danny becomes an adult he is plagued by his abilities and turns to drinking as a temporary relief from the spirits. The movie goes on to introduce a young girl, Abra, who also harnesses the ability of “shining.” She can speak to Dan telepathically even though they have never met in person. The girl’s powers are so strong that she attracts the unwanted attention of the True Knot cult. The True Knot are people who feed off of the stream of fear that comes from “the shine.” But in order to do this, they kill the children they feed off of. Abra is prompted to seek Danny’s help in order to escape the cult.
This movie is the perfect example of King’s mastermind of horror and thrills, as I was surprised this film took turns I have never seen in the horror genre before. From new effects and storylines to never-before-seen cliffhangers, the movie didn’t disappoint! Kudos to Mike Flanagan for directing this masterpiece as well: the only King influence was the novel itself but the movie was done beautifully. I would have liked to see more detailed introductions of certain storylines but I suppose the novel fills in the missing holes.
I enjoyed the underlying theme that was presented within the film, which was conveyed to me as recovery. Danny spent most of his life deep in bottles of whisky to suppress his shine. The end of the movie presented his recovery from alcoholism, as well as the ability to use his shine and embrace the good that it could do.