Doctor Sleep prescribes fear

Stephen King returns to the screen with a sequel to The Shining

Logan Berggren, Features Editor

The Shining saga continues with the newly released Doctor Sleep. Both movies are depictions of famous horror book writer Stephen King. The main struggle of the making of the movie was connecting it to The Shining; it certainly does not compare to the classic but it does add a modern twist to the story line. Mike Flanagan was the director and previously directed the King creation, Gerald’s Game.

The movie opens with showcasing the main antagonist of the film, Rose played by Rebecca Ferguson. It continues to reveal a young Danny look-alike, played by Roger Dale Floyd and his mother Lucy, played by Jocelin Donahue, another look-alike to the previous actor in The Shining. The film finds itself showing the audience what happened to Danny and Lucy after the traumatic events that took place at the Overlook Hotel. Danny finds out he has abilities and calls his ‘powers’ the shine. 

The movie then jumps to when Danny is older, played by Ewan McGregor. Older Danny is plagued with his traumatic childhood leading him to become an alcoholic and drug abuser. It is until he moves to a small town where he joins a support group and is given a new, better life. The movie shows his journey to become sober, he does this by getting a job at a local nursing home. At the nursing home he uses his “shine” to help sense those who are close to death, he then uses his abilities to calm the patients into comforting last moments, this is how he acquires the name Doctor Sleep. The antagonist group called the True Knot is consistently seeking kids with the ‘shine’. They then find a child named Abra, played by Kyliegh Curran, who has a very powerful ‘shine’. As they hunt her down, she meets Danny and they work together to stay alive. 

The movie does a considerable job giving the audience a new movie separate from The Shining while also still connecting it. Cast members Ewan McGregor and Kyliegh Curran do an exceptional job creating a close friendship between the characters. The unlike duo share a close bond throughout the film that leaves the audience caring for both actors. As for the horror part of the film, it does contain some disturbing scenes that may be unsettling for some viewers. But it does a substantial job of not doing ‘cheap’ scares and instead does unique psychological fears that may leave film-goers awake at night. 

Although the movie does set itself apart from The Shining, viewers should be told that it would be beneficial to watch the first movie before seeing Doctor Sleep. The movie hints a lot about the events that took place in the Overlook Hotel. Both movies are adaptations of books. The movie follows the book pretty well, but like every book to film process, some things change in the plot when it reaches the screen. The director does an excellent job creating an eerie setting and making sure the film does not lose itself in confusion. 

Doctor Sleep is worth the time and scares. If you are a King fan or just a movie watcher in the search for a horror flick, then I recommend this one. I would also recommend both the books that equally deliver fear.