Doctor Sleep does many interesting things to The Shining universe that never feels forced and often is as entertaining as the first one, though in different ways. Its blend of modern themes combined with the Stanley Kubrick classic does justice to a series that even Stephan King would agree with.
Doctor Sleep revolves around Danny, the son of the crazed killer from the original Shining film, who lives life concealing his telepathic abilities in order to stay safe. He then is taken out of safety when a girl whose abilities surpass his own and attracts villainous enemies.
Ian Macgregor does a superb job at handling an older, more mature Danny. His representation of the pain of one’s past and how much that can affect someone decades later holds a sensitivity that he portrays brilliantly. This mixed in with the wonderful writing of how he progresses in life offers more than an entertaining ride. The girl playing Abra, Kyliegh Curran, does an exceptional job as well, especially with some of the directions the character goes through.
The main draw of the picture is The Shining connection and it is present, however, only in small doses. If you go into this movie expecting it to outdo the original film, you will leave disappointed. Though the fact is nothing can ever top the original. And if fans of Stephan King’s classic expect this to rectify the diversion Stanley Kubrick takes, they will also be disappointed. The show can’t redo already known continuity, and this representation displays the respect for the original while taking the feedback Stephan King made and applying it here, and it does a terrific job.
The villains do shine as well, however, they don’t particularly mix well. When they focus on the group, it becomes super interesting, and the same happens when they relook at the haunted hotel that made the series as famous as it is. It’s when they try to blend them is when it feels rushed. It didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment, though it does feel faster than it should have been.
The only problem that was present, no matter how small, was the fact they hired younger-looking performers for flashback scenes. I’m aware most of the original performers are either deceased or too old to showcase an accurate past, it takes the viewer out of the film, especially when the film relays heavily on the context of the original. The only time this didn’t happen was through the actions of Carl Lumby playing Dick.
Doctor Sleep creates an interesting universe that appeals to everyone, a task that seemed only impossible. This feat alone is well worth the price of admission.