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Doctor Sleep (2019) Review

My History With the Film:
I remember when the book came out and I wasn’t super thrilled. The Shining didn’t seem to need a sequel and I haven’t read a full length Stephen King novel in many years. I never did read Doctor Sleep, but once a movie was announced directed by Mike Flanghan I was all in. Flanghan is the one director who I watch everything he does, so pairing him with another Stephen King story (he previously directed Gerald’s Game) I was all-in.

I choose not to see Doctor Sleep in the theater, mainly because I was busy, but also because it was 2.5 hours long. I’m really over these 2.5 hour long films, especially in theaters where you’re forced to watch 30 minutes of previews making the entire experience well over three hours long.

However, once I saw Doctor Sleep was available at the Redbox, I rented it and enjoyed it.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Danny Torrance is grown and dealing with the fallout of his experience at The Overlook when he’s thrust into a battle of good vs evil as he’s forced to help a young girl battle a group of creatures who feast on the shining.

What I Liked About It:

-The casting was great with Rebecca Ferguson stealing the show as Rose the Hat. Ewan McGregor was solid as always, it was nice to see Zahn McClarnon in something other than Longmire, Carl Lumbly played a fantastic Dick Hallorann, and the list goes on and on. There was no one miscast in this film.

-I loved the throw backs, re-created scenes, and brilliant tie-ins to the original story. It never came across like fan-service and all of it served a purpose to the overall story which was enjoyable.

-The cinematography was great and the movie has an excellent atmosphere. The score was strong, and the use of heartbeats to control the tension was a great throwback and very useful tool in dictating fear.

-There is a very uncomfortable death scene in the film that I give major kudos to Warner Brothers for allowing on film. It’s not something you’d expect to see nor do you see in a major motion picture. It was hard to watch and quite impactful.

-The movie feels like a Stephen King book, with the pacing, the acting, script, and all.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The movie was long, but didn’t feel too long. I really think this would have translated better into a three or four hour long Netflix series, vs. the current run-time.

-I’m not a fan of energies and the shining and I prefer the more haunted house vibe of the original film/mini-series.

-The first half is a little slow.

Additional Notes:
-Most of the sets from The Shining were re-created with blueprints taken from Stanley Kubrick’s estate. However, three shots were re-used from the original film: the aerial shot of the water and island and the two shots of the car driving on the mountain road. These shots were degrained, recolored, and had snow added digitally.

-Dr. Dalton’s room where Danny is interviewed for the orderly position is identical to Stuart Ullman’s office where Jack Torrance was interviewed. The same paint color were used and the desk has a little American flag on the right side.

-The name of the cat, Azzy, is short of Azrael the Angel of Death. Azzy is based on a real cat, Oscar, a tabby who resides at Steere House Nursing in Rhode Island who has been present for over 100 deaths.

I’d rate Doctor Sleep a four out of five. It’s arguably one of the best Stephen King adaptations and almost flawless as a movie. My only problem with the film was the story content didn’t do much for me, and never once did I feel any sort of fear. Because of this, I’m sure I’ll never watch Doctor Sleep again, but it was a very good one-time watch and if you are fond of The Shining in any format (movie, book, or mini-series) I highly recommend checking this out.

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