Originally written as a novel by Stephen King in 2013, this follow-up story imagines a world where the kid in ‘The Shining,’ “Danny Torrance,” has grown up. Played in this film by a shell-shocked Ewan McGregor, he’s haunted by the memories of his traumatic childhood and psychic abilities aka “shining.”
Like his dad, he has suffered from alcoholism, but by giving up the drink his suppressed “shining” abilities come back. Danny’s only solace is in comforting hospice patients by helping them sleep deeper, hence his nickname: “Dr. Sleep.”
The return of his abilities also brings back the demons of his childhood. He comes in contact with a young girl “Abra” (Kyliegh Curran) who also has an even stronger version of his psychic power. She’s being hunted by a cult led by Rebecca Ferguson (the ‘Mission: Impossible’ series, ‘The Greatest Showman’) that exploits those with the supernatural “shining.”
The audience at my screening applauded whenever there was a reference to the original movie- a return to the infamous Overlook Hotel got a significant round of applause. With just an okay script, it’s too long at 2 ½ hours. If you expect it to be like the book you’ll be disappointed- writer, director and editor Mike Flanagan took too many liberties with the character’s relationships. He even changed the ending of King’s book. Overall it’s well done, but as a big screen vision of King’s work it’s nowhere near the beloved Stanley Kubrick adaption.
2 ½ ♥
Marc Coppola for Shelli Sonstein