Doctor Sleep revives a haunting past

Movie Review: Doctor Sleep

Sophomore Ashley Jennings braves the terrors that lie in the newest Stephen King adaptation.

Photo by: Bridget Tracy

Sophomore Ashley Jennings braves the terrors that lie in the newest Stephen King adaptation.

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From the brilliant mind of award-winning author Stephen King, the new movie Doctor Sleep, which debuted on November 8, 2019, is rapidly making its presence known in theaters across the world. Based on The Shining, a Stephen King classic that made headlines in 1980, the new cinematic feature encapsulates another series of trauma that is more heightened than ever before. The sequel sheds light upon Danny Torrance, played by actor Ewan McGregor, as he manages to grow into his adulthood amidst the troubling demons, both mentally and physically, that remain after his ordeal. He recounts the hair-raising events of his childhood, throwing audiences into a deep dive of the horrid, spine-chilling moments he encountered.

Stephen King based the original adaptation of The Shining on The Stanley Hotel, where he encountered a terrifying nightmare. With his mind plunged into a state of darkness, inspiration struck, as he began to translate his unfathomable experience into a book for all to witness. The end result produced what would later become one of the most well-known horror films of all time, The Shining. This film followed the tormenting accounts that Danny faced at the hands of his mentally distraught and abusive father, along with paranormal visions that he calls “shine.” Although Director Stanley Kubrick manipulated some of the book’s content when making the movie, the infamous hallway twins and the ax-wielding Jack Torrance allowed The Shining’s story line line to become quite notable. The film went on to become a classic in the genre, collecting millions of followers along the way.

Doctor Sleep, conjured by Director Mike Flanagan, follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, causing massive buzz among fans. Ewan Mcgregor’s character finds himself struggling with alcoholism as a repercussion of his sinister childhood, falling into his father’s old habits. However, it does not take long for him to come into conflict with the paranormal world through his “shine,” which he tries to keep tucked away, in an effort to forget the past. He becomes aware of an unfamiliar evil when a young teenage girl, Abra, portrayed by Kyliegh Curran, seeks him out, for she possesses the same unique ability as he. After quickly becoming aware of the True Knot cult, a group who feeds on the shine of those unaware of their ability, the two create a dynamic alliance. The malicious group dabbles in immortality, emphasizing the importance of every step Danny and Abra take.

Focusing on the element of silence, Flanagan explains, “It’s a quiet moment, and that silence is intimate”. Using this form, instead of Kubrick’s hackneyed jump-scares, the movie takes on a fresh spin. Noticing the familiar elements, the audience steps into a world of the past. For more information on Mike Flanagan’s creative process during his creation of Doctor Sleep, click here.