Monday, November 11, 2019
I have a "love/hate" relationship with Stephen King. When he's on, he is definitely on... but when he's off, It's just hard as heck to continue reading or watching his movies. And while many people were excited to see King revisit the character of Danny Torrance, the novel never piqued my interest enough to try and read the book. I was aware of it, I knew it existed, and several friends gave it some high praise... but pass.
Fast forward a few years and Doctor Sleep is adapted into a film directed by Mike Flannagan. Mike's no stranger to King, having previously adapted Gerald's Game for Netflix. He has a few movies under his belt and the man knows what he's doing with a camera- he can build up suspense with the best of them and he isn't afraid to paint the screen red.
Billed as a sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep reintroduces us to an adult Danny Torrance who is struggling to cope with the trauma and aftermath of the incidents that took place in the Overlook Hotel. He strikes up a strange communication with a girl (Abra- played by Kileigh Curran) who has the Shine, just as he did when he was a child. She, in turn, has managed to gain the attention of a wandering group of Psychic Vampires who feast on the life energy of those with the Shine.
The movie isn't "bad", per se. The action sequences are well shot, they do a semi-decent job in building the tension and setting an atmosphere. Unfortunately, whether through the choice of King or the adapters of the film, young Abra is never in any real peril. She's smarter, stronger, and far more powerful then any of her would-be assailants. A sinister Rose the Hat (Rebeca Ferguson) is repeatedly foiled by the crafty girl and is repeatedly battered. There is nothing scary about the monsters of the film once Abra gets involved, and even Danny's ultimate decision to revisit the Overlook seemed meaningless to the story and only served to bring his character a sense of closure.
6 out of 10.