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Doctor Sleep
Ewan McGregor plays an adult Danny, struggling with his gifts and the events of 'The Shining'. PC: Warner Brothers

Doctor Sleep Review: The Shining sequel is a superhero movie

‘Doctor Sleep’ is Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he mentors a uniquely gifted child while trying not to repeat his own father/mentor’s mistakes… 

You need to watch ‘Doctor Sleep’. If not for the sake that it’s a ‘Shining’ sequel, arguably the greatest horror movie ever created, then how about because Stephen King wrote it?

Is that not enough?

Well did you like the ‘Haunting of Hill House‘ Netflix adaptation? Because the series creator, Mike Flanagan, one of the best horror directors of the modern era, directed and wrote the screenplay adaption for this movie. He also directed the Netflix Stephen King adaption ‘Gerald’s Game‘, so he’s already a veteran in adapting Stephen King’s work.

Still not sold? What, was ‘The Shining’ too scary?

What if I told you (minor spoilers ahead) that this movie is less horror and more superheroes with psychic abilities. That it’s more about terrifying psychic battles. Less ‘The Shining’ and more ‘The X-Men’ as gifted yet troubled individuals who ‘shine’ start to reach out to one another and Dany (Ewan McGregor) plays mentor to a psychically gifted girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran), the most powerful ‘Shine’ ever sensed in the known world.

I’m going to pause here and call B.S. The studio definitedly banked on Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi connection. He’s mentoring the most gifted psychic yet again (thanks, Anakin), but most importantly, the Obi-Wan hype is building due to the Disney+ series that’s coming out.

Anyway, Dany and Abra’s connection draws attention to some bad people. This turns into a hunt, as a hungry and almost vampiric cult of ‘shiners’, led by an ancient lady, Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), seek out ‘psychic food’ to prey on and keep immortal. All the while, Danny, still haunted by the Overlook hotel’s ghosts, tries not to repeat the sins of his father. As he locks away (quite literally mind you) the ghosts of his past and tries to overcome his own alcohol addiction, a trait inherited by his father.

If that’s not enough, the movie has some great aesthetics that pay tribute to the original shining (including some of your favorite hotel guests in cameos). It’s scary enough, though also independent enough, where it merits a fresh watch regardless of how you felt like the original shining.

My only qualm with the movie is that the final fifth of the film was fan service. It’s not like the books from what I understand. As the series ties it all back to the overlook hotel and first movie. All in a nostalgic callback that again, felt reminiscent of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in its heavy use of familiarity.

I’ll be honest, I found the final portion is by far the weakest point of the movie.

 

Doctor Sleep
The Ghosts of the past haunt Dany. Credit: Warner Brothers

 

Final Take

Watch it if you liked the original and want to see Obi-Wan battle ghosts and psychic vampires with Abra.

Final Score

8.4/10

 

You can watch ‘Doctor Sleep’ in theatres right now

 

About Christian Angeles

Christian Angeles likes to watch the moving pictures. He also listens to words on the page and writes in ways that make people feel things. All on a laptop. Sometimes from an app on his phone. You can follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Read his literature reviews on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xnangeles. Or read his articles in NewBrunswickToday: http://newbrunswicktoday.com/author/christian-angeles

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