It’s a sequel whose existence has been widely debated – does it really need a retelling of the events of The Shining? Stephen King himself gave the answer with his novel, which now has the awkward title Doctor Sleep (STEPHEN KING’S DOCTOR SLEEPS AWAKENS) was filmed. We reveal in our review how the horror drama turned out.
Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers are after the Shining.
The plot summary
Still scarred by the traumatic experiences he endured as a child at the Overlook, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) struggled to find peace in his life. But this peace is shattered when he meets young Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a brave teenager who is in possession of a powerful psychic power: the Shining. Following her instincts, Abra realized that Dan also has this gift. She enlists his help to take action against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers of the True Knot, who feed on the shining of innocents in their quest for immortality. As they try to defend themselves against their seemingly overwhelming threat, Dan and Abra not only have to stick together, but also find out whether there are more people who have the “Shining”…
Doctor Sleep Movie Meaning & ending
Although everything in Hollywood is falling victim to the sequel craze these days, there are films to which a sequel simply feels wrong. The best and most recent example is the announcement that Netflix would be planning a prequel to Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” together with the author of the original. You also feel a little like that when you hear that “Stephen King’s Doctor Sleeps Awakening” (yes, the film is really called that in this country and no, we won’t call it that in the further course) is a retelling of the events from the legendary Overlook Hotel, whose doors Stanley Kubrick opened in 1980 based on Stephen King’s The Shining novel. Almost forty years have passed since then and it’s hard to imagine a continuation of one of the best-directed horror films of all time being as gripping. The signs are completely different. Stephen King himself wrote the novel “Doctor Sleep” in 2013 at his own discretion and not necessarily as a basis for a film. The fact that this is being made into a film six years later is in the nature of things – especially in the post- “It” era when King film adaptations are in vogue again. And director Mike Flanagan (“Before I Wake”) makes the most of this , because a “Shining” sequel could hardly have been imagined better. At the same time, the film also proves that it is almost impossible to direct a film that even remotely has a similarly disturbing atmosphere. There is at least as much light as there is shadow in “Doctor Sleeps Awakening”.
This lettering looks familiar to us…
Mike Flanagan is not only familiar with Stephen King material, but also with directing sequels. He has already directed the film adaptation of the King novella “Gerald’s Game” for Netflix. For Blumhouse Productions he once again took on the difficult task of supplementing the completely messed up “Ouija – Don’t Play with the Devil” with an atmospherically very harmonious sequel with lots of nostalgic horror elements. In general, Flanagan has a knack for creating horror; He is also responsible for the production of the celebrated horror series “The Haunting of Hill House”. The film proves in the very first scene that Flanagan’s choice was not only the right choice on paper, but that he is also really worth this advance praise: starting with the 1980s Warner logo and under the booming sounds of the original “Shining ” scores (so the film definitely takes place in the “Shining” universe created by Kubrick), we see little Danny racing through the winding corridors of the Overlook Hotel on his tricycle. Anyone who doesn’t pay close attention will hardly be able to tell that these are not original scenes, but rather re-shot scenes on an Overlook replica that is meticulously modeled on the original set; Flanagan and his team have really done a great job bringing the macabre charm of what is probably the scariest hotel in the world into 2019. One would probably assume the exact opposite, but “Doctor Sleep’s Awakening” works best when it directly references “The Shining.” And that when it should actually be irritating that scenes with young Danny (Roger Dale Floyd) and young Wendy (Alex Essoe) were re-shot shortly after the events in the Overlook with similar-looking actors. Nevertheless: The illusion works surprisingly well thanks to very clever camera work (Michael Fimognari, “The Haunting of Hill House” ) and targeted cuts (Flanagan took over himself), which often only shows the two central figures of the original from behind or from the side; and in the finale Flanagan gets a little more out of the cult setting than just nice fan service.
But before there can even be a showdown in the resurrected Overlook, “Doctor Sleep” wants to tell a story. And that – as those familiar with the novel will already know – has hardly anything to do with the events in “Shining”. This has both advantages and disadvantages: It takes away a lot of the height of the story, as its content can hardly be compared to the events of its predecessor. However, anyone who is looking forward to a new entry from the “hotel horror” subgenre will probably be disappointed with “Doctor Sleeps Awakening”. In general, despite its horror opening, the film is for a long time more of a character drama than a genre film (not without clever references to “The Shining” again and again; for example when the AAA head’s room is furnished exactly the same as the Overlook hotel manager’s). which observes Danny Torrance, who has now grown up and is solidly embodied by Ewan McGregor (“Christopher Robin”) , as he turns to alcohol and hookers after his father Jack’s horror and only later tries to get his life back on track with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous to get. Where the novel (or rather Danny) gets the name “Doctor Sleep” underlines the tragic component of this story even more; The horror elements that are gradually interspersed almost seem a little out of place, even if the film gradually moves further and further into horror territory in its lush running time of two and a half hours until it completely settles into the genre by the showdown at the latest.
Probably the most important point of reference to “Shining” is the Shining of the title; A group around leader Rose the Hat (strong: “Greatest Showman” star Rebecca Ferguson as a completely insane villain) is targeting Danny’s supernatural ability, with which other people are also blessed, and who transform their victims into vampire-like creatures Processes suck the Shining out of your body. Things are sometimes really brutal here; a scene in which the cult-like organized community brutally murders a little boy is absolutely not for the faint-hearted. Unfortunately, Mike Flanagan, who is also responsible for the script, does not manage to coherently tell the story about Rose the Hat and the storyline about Danny, which is later joined by a third one about Abra, who is also equipped with the Shining to merge. “Doctor Sleeps Awakening” essentially tells three stories at once. And no matter how stringently Flanagan is able to bring the various plot threads together in the end, there is never a feeling of a larger whole. The quality of each individual (sub)plot is also too different; While Flanagan stages everything about Danny in a very calm manner with various visual borrowings from the “Shining” original, Rose and her people sometimes make you feel like you’re in an “X-Men” film. Everything that has to do with Abra, on the other hand, falls completely between the two chairs. It’s not all that annoying, especially since Flanagan has some visually intoxicating ideas for bringing all three worlds together on the screen. The moments when Abra is in Rose’s head and vice versa are a prime example of this. But this film version doesn’t really work here, even if the book certainly plays a big part in it.
Conclusion: The sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece “Shining” always impresses when Mike Flanagan references the original. However, if “Stephen King’s Doctor Sleeps Awakening” is supposed to stand on its own two feet, the director and screenwriter lack rigor and focus. His film is still a solid horror drama, especially due to its directorial qualities.
“Doctor Sleep” can be seen in USA cinemas from November 21st.