Something to mention before I explain my hate for this film is that my opinions on a film should never be your excuse to hate a film. You should see a movie before you form opinions on it and say something about it. I’m no professional writer and basically the only credibility I have is that I’ve waste 10 years of my life watching and studying films now. I’ve never made a full length feature horror film, especially one that’s a sequel to The Shining. I’m pretty sure that many of of my complaints for the film could be from the challenge of adapting a book to screen or studio mandates.
The Shining, written by now famous horror author Stephen King in 1977, and adapted into film by visionary director Stanley Kubrick in 1980.
The film now is considered a masterpiece by many, a work of art that perfects the feeling of dread. From the stark unique colors, the twisting and claustrophobic hallways, and the various creaks and cracks heard about the Overlook Hotel.
The hotel itself becomes this entity of hate, fear, and emptiness. You come to learn the hotel, learn each of the rooms, the carpet, the wallpaper, the halls. The hotel is a character you come to fear and yet hate. It’s a hotel of greed and power made by the bloodshed and suffering by those beneath it.
Well after about 16 years Stephen King had finally published a sequel to the acclaimed story, Doctor Sleep. It was well received but then basically forgotten about until now.
This November, 6 years after Doctor Sleep had been published and nearly 40 years since The Shining came out to theaters, Mike Flanagan (Director of horror ‘masterpieces’ Oculus and Oujia: Origin of Evil), has given us the sequel nobody asked for to The Shining, Doctor Sleep.
The film follows the now adult Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor), after his traumatic experience and near escape from his father’s bloodthirsty rampage. Danny and his mother have now moved to California where there’s not a drop of snow. Here we see even after leaving the hotel Danny is still haunted by the horrors that haunted the place.
The film also follows one Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) whom also has a “shine.” Though Kyliegh embraces her powers and is quite powerful with them. She one day detects the murder of a kid and alerts Danny of the murder which causes Danny and Abra to work together to stop the murderer.
That murderer is the third person we follow and the antagonist of the story, one Rose The Hat (Rebbeca Furguson). Rose and her gang of hippies has been at her game for quite awhile, killing kids who show that they’ve also got extraordinary talents. Her catchphrase being “Eat Well, Love Long” in which she promises her followers the gift of immortality as long as they are willing to give off their morality and kill children, By sucking their steam.
Now why does this all matter? Because this movie is awful and is even worse as a sequel to The Shining.
The first thing I’d like to point out is the fact that the movie just looks bad. From camera work to color correction, the film is murky and bland. As if someone shot beige paint drying on a wall but the camera had this distinct dark barf green color filter over the lens. There are a few creative shots but for the most part the film wastes it’s time with exposition, shot reverse shot conversations, and strangely what seems like using slightly different takes of the same shot to pad out a conversation or scene.
The next main problem I have is the plot. The best I can explain is that recovering alcoholic Danny Torrence and powerful psychic child Abra Stone must work together to stop a group of child murdering psychic hippies lead by one Rose The Hat (Whom got her stupid villain nickname from wearing the dumbest top hate ever.) The plot is so ridiculous and just wastes your time with fluff and filler like Danny using his powers to calm down dying hospice care patients and shoving in as many references to the show RWBY, posters and figures getting almost as much screentime as the main villain.
The movie is a slog to watch and had me asking myself how long till its finally over. Thats when last roughly 20 minutes of a climax made me hate the movie even more.
The film has Danny and Abra go back to the now infamous hotel, rotting and in shambles where they plan to face off with Rose. The movie for once slows down and practically screams “Hey look! Listen! We’ve remade the original opening of The Shining but at night with snow covered hills! Look at the hallways and these rooms! Isn’t that cool?!”
The movie rolls around in its own prideful ego as they revisit the hotel. They continue to go on showing of notable locations like the hedge maze, the gold room, and room 237. The film revels in its fanfare knowing viewers will praise it for giving them more of The Shining.
It takes pride in knowing that because of the last few minutes revisiting this classic error of horror, bringing back all of the terrifying guests that lurked the halls of The Overlook, bringing back the spine tingling score that reminded one of foreboding horrors to come, that people will mostly forgive the two hours of shitty fluff and stuff.
Doctor Sleep is a film I hope people forget or start to see as the soulless cash grab that is truly is. Rather than making a film that carries on the legacy of Kubrick, Flanagan has made a awfully mediocre sequel that relies on its predecessor to be considered good.