Doctor Sleep (2019) - SPOILER-FREE Review (2022)

Doctor Sleep (2019) - SPOILER-FREE Review (1)

Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Written by: Mike Flanagan

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis

Runtime: 151 min

Synopsis: Doctor Sleep is the continuation of Danny Torrance's (Ewan McGregor) story 40 years after the terrifying events of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the "shine." Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.

(Video) Doctor Sleep 2019 - Spoiler Free Review!

There’s this misconceived idea that “scary movies” are the ones with demons, monsters, or ghosts literally showing up in jump scare sequences, one after another, accompanied by an extremely loud sound. Granted, we’re scared of what we’re scared of. No debate here. However, one common complaint about this type of horror films is that they aren’t “scary enough”. I couldn’t disagree more. These movies are the ones that truly get to us and stay with us for a while. If we watch a film with cyclical jump scares, we’re going to forget about it as soon as we leave the theater. Movies with a horrific story, based on relatable themes, those are the ones that leave us uncomfortable and disturbed. I’m just writing this “prologue” to say that you shouldn’t go in expecting a “scary” film. At least, not in a mainstream way. Moving on…

As you probably know by now (if you don't, check out myThe Shining'sreview), I'm a huge fan ofStanley Kubrick'sadaptation ofStephen King'snovel of the same name. It's a cult classic horror movie, one that influenced generations to come, especially regarding filmmaking techniques and equipment. With that said,Mike Flanaganhad one of the toughest jobs of 2019. Not only did he need to deliver a sequel worthy of being associated with a beloved classic, but he had to deal with all the differences between the source material andKubrick'schanges. I'm going to leave aSPOILER WARNINGforThe Shiningsince the film came out 40 years ago, and I already wrote a review about it. Still,SPOILER-FREEforDoctor Sleep, don't worry.

In case you don't know, the major difference betweenKing'sbook andKubrick'scinematic adaptation is the ending. In the book,Jack Torranceforgets to relieve the hotel boiler's pressure, and it explodes, destroying the hotel and killingJackin the process. InKubrick'smovie,Jackfreezes to death in the maze outside the hotel while chasing his son, while the hotel stands tall.Flanaganis able to do the impossible: he perfectly continues the story left byKubrickwhile respectingKing's"demands". Just don't go with a "purist" mentality, thinking thatFlanagandoesn't have the right to explore and expand "the shining". It's a sequel, so expect things to be added to the story (nothing is removed or retconned, so relax). As long as it makes sense, be always open to new ideas.

Doctor Sleep (2019) - SPOILER-FREE Review (3)

(Video) 'Doctor Sleep' (2019) Spoiler Free Review!!!!

As the director,Flanaganproves once again he's a pretty talented guy by seamlessly recreating some ofThe Shining'smost iconic scenes, but also by delivering some tricks of his own. With the help of his amazing cinematographer,Michael Fimognari, they are able to generate incredible levels of tension, characteristic of the original film. As the editor, he puts together everything remarkably well. The sequences inside someone's mind are wonderfully handled and provide some of the best moments of the entire movie. However, there's a massive difference when it comes to how the runtime flows in each film.

Both cross the 140-minute mark, and both purposefully employ slow pacing. Nevertheless,The Shiningfeels like it goes by way faster thanDoctor Sleep(and mathematically it does have less 5-10 minutes, but that's not the point). Why? Due toKubrick'smovie constantly having long takes and extense dialogues, whileFlanagan'sinstallment has a modern approach with regular cuts plus much more action. Audiences presumably won't think of this (it's not like the "average Joe" notices or even cares if a scene has been going for 5 minutes straight or pieced together with 50 cuts), and just assume that the latter is more boring than the first without really understanding why.

People will probably blindly blame the story, butDoctor Sleephas a lot more "blockbuster entertainment" thanThe Shining. The latter is pretty much two hours spent inside a hotel where dialogue is the primary source of entertainment (things only go crazy in the last 15-20 minutes), and we all know that the general public usually doesn't fall for that. The sequel has a lot more action, subplots, and characters, so the runtime should go by faster than the original, right? No. This film is the number one proof that I'm going to use from now on to defend that uncut dialogue sequences and overall long takes are the best way of managing an extended runtime without it feeling too "heavy", especially in a psychological horror flick.

Doctor Sleep (2019) - SPOILER-FREE Review (4)

(Video) Doctor Sleep- Spoiler Free Review

I wrote all these last paragraphs not to complain about the movie's being too slow, too long, or too dull. I'm just trying to help everyone understand why the film might feel slower and (much) longer, while protecting its story because the screenplay is indeed extremely well-written. Like in the original, exposition is handled beautifully with scarce lazy displays, but it's the characters ofEwan McGregorand the debutantKyliegh Curranthat carry the narrative effortlessly.McGregoris the perfect casting asDanny Torrance, and he does a great job of embodyingDan'spersonality. However, it'sDanny'sjourney through his young and adult years that impresses me.

Exceptional character development!Danny'slife after the events at the Overlook Hotel is as realistic and logical as it could be.Flanagandoes a phenomenal job in handling this character and throwing just the right obstacles in his path. The way he deals with the aftermath ofThe Shining, how he grows up as a man, and even what he ends up doing for a living, everything is absolutely perfect. Furthermore, he's not alone.Abrais a badass young girl who wants to use her "shine" to protect others, but this time it's the actress that steals the spotlight from the character.Kyliegh Currandelivers one of the best young acting debuts I've ever witnessed. She's wonderful asAbra, and her range of emotions is already surprisingly vast.

She has some of the best scenes of the movie, especially when she's "fighting"Rose the Hat, but here is where we get to my major issue with the film.Rebecca Fergusongives an outstanding performance, no doubt about it. She elevates infinite sequences, giving 200% to her role. However, her character and The True Knot group are the only significant flaw of this sequel. When writing a villain, there are basically two paths for success: either make the "bad guy" a compelling character with whom the audience can create some sort of empathy and understand where he/she comes from, or turn him/her into a menacing, powerful, scary force that makes us fear for our heroes.

Flanaganapparently chooses the latter route, and unfortunately, it's his only misstep. I don't know ifKingdidn't allow for changes toRoseor The True Knot cult, but they don't quite work when adapting to the big screen. Not only their history is never truly explored, but their motivations are too shallow, so I didn't care for a single character from the group, not evenRose. If she was the "menacing, powerful, scary force" that I wrote above, this wouldn't be so important, but the truth is she isn't. As the narrative progresses, there's a constant reminder that our heroes are in danger and thatRoseis astonishingly strong, but the interactions between her andAbraprove the contrary. So, I never really felt frightened or overwhelmed by her.

A decent portion of runtime is handed toRose'sgroup, but its development didn't work for me at all. They’re not bad villains, and they’re still more fleshed out than a lot of characters in horror movies. I just think something’s missing. Nevertheless, that's the only major problem I have with the movie. For true fans ofThe Shining, the countless references and Easter Eggs are such a delight (there’s good and bad fan-service, the one present in this sequel only appears after we are already invested in the story and its characters, demonstrating once more Flanagan’s talent). From the haunting and addictive score that The Newton Brothersare able to seamlessly adapt to the sequel to the influentialKubrick'sframing,Flanaganand his team produce something pretty extraordinary having in mind this is a sequel to one of the most beloved horror films of all-time.

(Video) Doctor Sleep Review SPOILER FREE

Doctor Sleep (2019) - SPOILER-FREE Review (6)

Final Thoughts

In the end,Doctor Sleepmight be the first sequel/remake/reboot/whatever to a cult classic movie that doesn't diminish the original, disgracefully copies it, or takes something away from it, while actually being an individually great film with a captivating narrative and compelling leads, plus the right amount of homages to the classic.Mike Flanagantook the impossible task of balancing bothStephen King'sThe ShiningandStanley Kubrick'scinematic adaptation, and successfully nailed pretty much everything regarding the connection between the main stories. In addition to the slow pacing not working as well as in the original, The True Knot group is the big stumble in an otherwise pretty consistent screenplay. However, the phenomenal cast (with a terrific debut performance fromKyliegh Curran) elevate every scene, ultimately driving the sequel to a nostalgia-full ending that will turn out to be divisive among fans. I stand on the good side. Therefore, I genuinely appreciate this movie. If you're a fan of the original, you can't miss this one!

Rating: A-

| A+ : 9.3-10 | A: 8.7-9.2 | A- : 8.0-8.6 | B+ : 7.3-7.9 | B: 6.7-7.2 | B- : 6.0-6.6 || C+ : 5.3-5.9 | C: 4.7-5.2 | C- : 4.0-4.6 | D+ : 3.3-3.9 | D: 2.7-3.2 | D- : 2.0-2.6 | F: 0-1.9 |


Was Doctor Sleep any good? ›

Doctor Sleep is a great film for fans of both King and Kubrick. Although considered a timeless horror classic by both critics and audiences alike, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) remains famously loathed by Stephen King to this day.

Was Dr sleep a flop? ›

The movie opened to only $14 million at the domestic box office and tapped out at $31 million, far below its reported $45 million production budget. Worldwide, “Doctor Sleep” only earned $72 million.

Is Doctor Sleep book as good as The Shining? ›

Better - Doctor Sleep Isn't Afraid Of Its Heart

One of the biggest changes between the book and film versions of The Shining is the emotional tone. Like with much of King's writing, the novel is far more open with the emotional themes it's handling, making characters far more sympathetic.

Did Dr sleep do well at the box office? ›

Because of DOCTOR SLEEP's box office performance, Warner Bros opted not to proceed with it. They control the rights, so that was that. Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan McGregor as an older version of Danny Torrance, ultimately grossed $31million in the US and $72million worldwide against a $45 million budget.

What Stephen King thinks about Doctor Sleep? ›

Whilst he isn't a fan of The Shining, in a 2019 interview with EW King revealed that he loves Mike Flanagan's film adaptation of his sequel Doctor Sleep, and even went as far as to say that a lot of this is to do with the way it tied his novel into Kubrick's version of The Shining.

Can I understand Doctor Sleep without The Shining? ›

So don't worry: Even if you've never read either book, you'll still be able to appreciate Doctor Sleep. You probably do want to make sure you watch The Shining first, though.

Why did the girl go in the bathroom at the end of Dr sleep? ›

In the film's last scene, Abra finally tells her mother the truth—that she's been conversing with a ghost—before heading into her bathroom to dispose of another one of the Overlook's insidious ghouls, just as Danny did all those years earlier.

Why is he called doc in Doctor Sleep? ›

Thanks to his abilities (and a cat who seems to know when someone in the building is about to die), Dan is able to help dying patients pass on into the next world with peace and comfort. His knack for always being around when a patient dies earns him the nickname Doctor Sleep - Doc, for short.

Why is Jack Nicholson not in Doctor Sleep? ›

Is Jack Nicholson in Doctor Sleep? In short, no. Wacky Jack, as he's known in Tinseltown, is very committed to being retired. Despite rumours he's to play Winfried in the US remake of German indie Toni Erdmann, Nicholson is pretty much out of the game.

Is Doctor Sleep a scary book? ›

Doctor Sleep is a 2013 horror novel by American writer Stephen King and the sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining.

Why The Shining is a masterpiece? ›

It gets under your skin and stays there with a hypnotic and constant sense of dread. It explores the idea of haunted spaces, both in the physical world and within a person's psyche. The Shining shows the slow descent into madness a person can experience, exasperated by ominous silence and a labyrinthian environment.

Which The Shining is better? ›

The Shining 1997… This smackdown is meant to determine which flick is the better horror movie. That prize, unequivocally, goes to the 1980 version. The 1997 version functions more effectively as a solid Lifetime drama about a recovering alcoholic and how it impacts his family during one long, terrible winter.

What is the biggest box office flop of all time? ›

  1. "Turning Red" (2022)
  2. "Mulan" (2020) ...
  3. "47 Ronin" (2013) ...
  4. "Mars Needs Moms" (2011) ...
  5. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (2017) ...
  6. "Mortal Engines" (2018) ...
  7. "Cats" (2019) ...
  8. "Town and Country" (2001) ...
24 Oct 2022

Which version of Doctor Sleep should I watch? ›

The director's cut clocks is about 24 minutes longer than the movie's 151-minute theatrical cut, and will probably satisfy anybody who wants to spend more time with writer/director Mike Flanagan's version of King's characters. Flanagan's preferred edit features more polished visual effects, as well as some extra blood.

Is the directors cut of Doctor Sleep worth it? ›

The end result is that the director's cut is just more Doctor Sleep. If you liked the movie and plan to rewatch it anyway, or even for the first time, watch it! The movie's already two and a half hours long, you can go for three, and you'll get a little more out of it.

What is the moral of Doctor Sleep? ›

As the teenage girl, Ryliegh Curran also turns in a terrific performance. DOCTOR SLEEP has some positive moral, redemptive content. For example, self-sacrifice occurs, people are encouraged to help other people, and the Serenity Prayer is partly recited.

What is Danny's power in Doctor Sleep? ›

Danny, who has a psychic ability called “the shining,” has telepathic powers and can see into the future — and the future he sees when he gets to the hotel is not so swell. Doctor Sleep explores Dan Torrance's adult life and the aftermath of what happened at The Overlook.

What happens to Danny in Doctor Sleep book? ›

In the book: Danny Torrence doesn't die. He's seen celebrating 15 years of sobriety with his new family at a birthday party for Abra. This was the most surprising change from the books.

How is The Shining and Doctor Sleep connected? ›

It is based on the 2013 Stephen King novel of the same name, and is a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). Set several decades after the events of The Shining, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance, a man with psychic abilities who struggles with childhood trauma.

What is the famous line from The Shining? ›

Jack Torrance: [typed] All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. HERE'S JOHNY!!! Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in.

What does the number 42 mean in The Shining? ›

The number 42 also appears in various guises. The movie playing on the television is Summer of '42. If you multiply 2 by 3 by 7 (as in room 237) the number is 42. The Germans decided on the "final solution" to European Jewry in 1942. Therefore The Shining is about the Holocaust.


History. The room was inhabited in the past, by a Lorraine Massey who would usually seduce young bellboys who would visit her room. One time Danny Torrance visited this room after a ball strangely rolled to him from its open doors. Later, he claimed that a "crazy woman" tried to strangle him.

Who was the woman in Room 237? ›

Lia Beldam is best known for playing the super sexy babe in the bathtub in room 237 -- whose flesh rots off while in Jack's arms -- in the Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece "The Shining." Guess what ...

Who is the rotting woman in Doctor Sleep? ›

Rose the Hat is a fictional character created by American writer Stephen King. She is the primary antagonist in his 2013 novel Doctor Sleep and in the 2019 film of the same name. She is portrayed by Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson.

Is Abra Danny's niece? ›

Abra Rafaella Stone is the deuteragonist in Doctor Sleep and it's film adaptation. She is a high school student. She is the daughter of David and Lucy Stone, the granddaughter of Jack Torrance and Sandy Reynolds, the niece of Danny Torrance, and the great-granddaughter of Concetta Reynolds.

Who is more powerful Danny or Abra? ›

Abra was born with very powerful psychic abilities, like her uncle Dan. Her abilities are even greater than Dan's were at his peak, to the point where she was able to generate a small earthquake with her mind.

How Old Is Rose the Hat? ›

In the book Rose's age is never revealed, but in interviews Ferguson puts her at at least 700 years old. Doctor Sleep doesn't hold back on the truly disturbing sequences, but it is refreshing to have a villain whose motives are clean-cut and who never wavers.

Is Lloyd supposed to be Jack? ›

But while Lloyd the bartender may be Jack Torrance, he's not Jack Nicholson. Instead, the scene, like all the film's Shining-era flashbacks, were recreated with new actors. This time, Jack is played by Henry Thomas, who's best known as Elliott from E.T.

Why did Danny Lloyd quit acting? ›

Although he continued auditioning for movie roles, Lloyd couldn't catch a break. He'd tired of the process by his early teens and told his parents he was quitting acting. Saying farewell to Hollywood, Lloyd married and raised four children and is now a biology professor at a Kentucky university.

Who will play Jack Torrance in Doctor Sleep? ›

Henry Thomas: Following Jack Nicholson in Doctor Sleep Was 'Pretty Intense' During an interview with ComingSoon about the thriller film Crawlspace, Henry Thomas talked about the pressure of playing Jack Torrance in Doctor Sleep — a character made iconic by legendary actor Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Is Doctor Sleep appropriate for a 13 year old? ›

Traumatic for child and adult viewers alike

The violence against children is so disturbing that this might as well be a snuff film. I read that even Stephen King himself thought one of the scenes was too much. This isn't for kids of any age or even adults, for that matter.

Why is Dr Sleep R rated? ›

Doctor Sleep is rated R by the MPAA for disturbing and violent content, some bloody images, language, nudity and drug use.

What monster is in DR sleep? ›

The True Knot are a nomadic tribe of quasi-immortal people with dark psychic powers and they served as the main antagonistic group in the 2013 Stephen King novel and its 2019 film Doctor Sleep, which is a sequel to the 1977 Stephen King novel and its 1980 film The Shining.

What mental illness is portrayed in The Shining? ›

The Shining follows Jack Torrance, a man recovering from alcohol use disorder, who has delusions and develops psychosis over the course of the film.

Why shining is the scariest movie ever? ›

The scares in the film weren't delivered by gore or or grisly special effects; it was masterful direction orchestrated by Kubrick and a tour de force performance by Jack Nicholson that created a suffocating sense of dread and doom throughout the film, building a psychological horror that traps the viewer inside the ...

What is the hidden message of The Shining? ›

The Shining is also explicitly about America's general inability to admit to the gravity of the genocide of the Indians - or, more exactly, its ability to "overlook" that genocide. Not only is the site called the Overlook Hotel with its Overlook Maze, but one of the key scenes takes place at the July 4th Ball.

Why are there 2 versions of Shining? ›

146 minutes. However, as explained above, less than one week into its release, Kubrick cut the 2 minute coda from the end of the film, reducing its length to 144 minutes. After meeting with poor reviews and erratic box office, Kubrick decided to further edit the film for its theatrical release outside the US.

Who is the main villain in The Shining? ›

Type of Villain

John Daniel Edward "Jack" Torrance is the central antagonist of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel The Shining as well as its 1997 TV miniseries adaptation.

Why is The Shining movie so different? ›

One of the biggest differences between the book and the film is Jack's fate. Whereas the novel allows for a tragic kind of redemption that grounds Jack in his deepest, most human longing to love and care for his family, the film leaves Jack—quite literally—cold.

What is the number 1 most successful movie of all time? ›

Avatar, directed by James Cameron, is the highest grossing movie of all time, having a lifetime gross of over $2.8 billion, according to Box Office Mojo by IMDbPro.

What movie took the most money ever made? ›

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides officially holds the record, with a budget of $378.5 million, while The Hobbit trilogy stands as the most expensive back-to-back film production, with combined costs of $623 million after tax credits.

Is Doctor Sleep 3 hours long? ›

The Director's Cut of the film is 3-hours long (180-minutes), compared to the 152-minute theatrical cut. Yup, that means just under 30 minutes of footage not seen in theaters.

Is Doctor Sleep worth watching? ›

Doctor Sleep manages to do the impossible by somehow remaining faithful to both King's books and Kubrick's film, yet in a way that creates a unique amalgam of both sources, producing something altogether new. February 23, 2022 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review… That Doctor Sleep is even passable is amazing.

What is the difference between Doctor Sleep and Doctor Sleep director's cut? ›

The 3-hour Director's Cut restores the following scenes not shown in the theatrical cut: The film's title card is now shown in the beginning and the new cut is broken down into six chapters via their own respective chapter cards.

What is the difference between theatrical and director's cut? ›

A director's cut is a version of a film that represents the director's own approved edit. A director's cut may include scenes that were not in the theatrical cut of the movie, which was altered by the studio for time or content.

Why is Doctor Sleep a good book? ›

Doctor Sleep is fundamentally a book about hope. King's latest creation offers redemption for drunks, mercy for the tortured, salvation for sinners, a world beyond for the dying, and promise for those wanting to rise above their grim pasts.

Why is Doctor Sleep so different from the book? ›

One of the biggest differences between the film and book versions of Doctor Sleep is the absence of references to Kubrick's version of The Shining. In King's Doctor Sleep novel, The Overlook has burned down, and the True Knot has built one of their campgrounds on that still-evil land.

Who is the main villain in Doctor Sleep? ›

Rose the Hat is a fictional character created by American writer Stephen King. She is the primary antagonist in his 2013 novel Doctor Sleep and in the 2019 film of the same name. She is portrayed by Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson.

Which version of DR sleep is best? ›

The director's cut clocks is about 24 minutes longer than the movie's 151-minute theatrical cut, and will probably satisfy anybody who wants to spend more time with writer/director Mike Flanagan's version of King's characters. Flanagan's preferred edit features more polished visual effects, as well as some extra blood.

What is the best version of Doctor Sleep? ›

Not only is the Doctor Sleep Director's Cut version better for having more, it also finds the characters move to a second iconic location within the Overlook Hotel: the red-painted bathroom. It's special work all around, and it's just amazing that it exists.

Why was the old lady at the end of Doctor Sleep? ›

However, Abra is well-equipped to handle a few ghosts, and the movie ends with her entering the bathroom without fear. Like the shine vampires, Lorraine Massey's ghost represents the way in which adults feed on children and rob them of their innocence, but thanks to Danny, Abra is prepared to deal with her.

What is the significance of Rose's hat in Doctor Sleep? ›

She uses her top hat as a prop, playing the role of a friendly magician when she is anything but. Her disarming charm is part of her terrifying nature, and she shows no remorse for the many children she has killed over her centuries-plus lifespan.

What did the True Knot do to baseball boy? ›

Death. The True Knot drove him to an isolated location, an old oilworks, where the took him out of the van and tied him to the ground. They slowly tortured him by stabbing him in the stomach and larynx a bunch of times to get the most steam out of him as he pleaded to live and that he will not tell anyone.


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