There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just throw it out there and let y’all judge me: I haven’t seen Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 prequel to Doctor Sleep, The Shining. My daughter kept telling me we should watch it before Doctor SLeep came out, but life got busy. I knew enough about The Shining from various sources including the recent film adaptation of Ready Player One to be able to watch Doctor Sleep with enough background knowledge.
Not having seen The Shining probably helped make the later stages of the film more enjoyable, however, for reasons I can’t go into here.
Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is the son of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who escaped the horrors of the Overlook Hotel in 1980, but he grows up to be a broken, alcoholic individual, who converse with a ghost who tries to guide him. Trying to outrun his past, Dan meets Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) in a small town twenty years later, and finds a job in a hospice, taking care of people who are dying, where he earns the name Doctor Sleep.
Life gets messy again when a girl Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) contacts Dan through writing on his bedroom wall. She needs his help with her powers and evading a group of vampire-like people, who hunt and devour humans gifted with the Shining.
Together with his new friend Billy, Dan decides to help Abra defeat the vampires. It’s no easy task and not everything goes to plan, and the film finds it’s way back to the legendary Overlook Hotel for its climactic scenes.
Doctor Sleep isn’t too much of an out and out horror, more of a supernatural thriller. It has enough of a back story that it works as a stand-alone film, with no previous viewing necessary (lucky for me!) but also as a companion film to The Shining.
Rating: R16 Restricted to persons 16 years and over. NOTE: Violence, horror, drug use & offensive language.