Find Your Calling Face Your Fears, My Review of Doctor Sleep
Before I get into my review of Doctor Sleep, I want to mention a few of Stephen King’s other works and their adaptations.
2017’s The Dark Tower, directed by Danish Film Maker Nikolaj Arcel, who is best known for directing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is my favorite Stephen King adaptation. Even though it was written as a sequel to the novels, and may have been a bit condensed. I still really enjoy watching it. It’s to the point where my mother is like,
Mijo, cuántas veces vas a ver la misma película? Te la deberías saber de memoria.
How many times are you going to watch the same movie? You should know it by heart.
She’s not wrong. While I don’t consider it to be his best written work, (that is The Body, later adapted into the film Stand By Me), The Dark Tower: Gun Slinger is an incredibly fun read, as are the rest of the books in the series.
The film version was beautiful from start to finish. But if you watch any review of the movie, all of the critics seem to have the same exact opinion, which in my opinion means they’re a bunch of NPCs. Haha! Hence, the movie did not do well. I’ve always been of the mindset where I feel you should watch a movie or film and judge it for yourself. If you’ve read my review of the most recent adaptations of IT, you know I feel the films are hot garbage, and are more unintentionally funny than scary. Yet they went on to gross a shit ton of money.
I fear that Doctor Sleep won’t do as well as those, even though it should do substantially better as I think it is a far superior film.
Doctor Sleep, adapted, directed and edited by Mike Flanagan from the Stephen King novel of the same name, is the direct sequel to The Shining. Doctor Sleep is also the best film adaptation of a Stephen King novel I’ve ever seen. It explores the world of The Shining, answers a lot of the questions both viewers and readers of The Shining had, and expands on the mythos. It does all of this without making you sit there for three hours feeling as if you were on a really bad acid trip.
Ewan McGregor is fantastic as Danny Torrance, Carl Lumbly was absolutely flawless as Dick Hallorann, which is saying a lot as the original role was played by the late great Scatman Crothers. Cliff Curtis gives his best performance since playing Smiley in Training Day. But the breakout stars of this movie are Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat and Kyliegh Curran as Abra Stone.
When I looked Kyliegh Curran up on IMDB I could not believe this was only her second film role. She’s amazing. As for her character Abra Stone, she’s not only impossible to dislike, but she’s also one of the best written super powered female characters ever. It could have easily gone the other way. Because she’s not only the brightest shiner, she is set up as the perfect little girl with perfect and loving parents, who may not fully understand her powers, but they at least know she’s special. All I want to say, if you watch the movie after reading this, pay close attention to the posters on the walls of her bedroom. They are really important to her character.
Doctor Sleep is a visual treat. Not only are some of the scenes just absolutely impressive, but they are also incredibly well shot. The plot also has a really great flow. While there are some tonal shifts, they’re not jarring. There are no “what the fuck did I just see scenes” like Penny Wise dancing in a music box like the Mad Hatter. The pacing also fits more with what current audiences are accustomed to.
One of the best things about The Shining is the Overlook Hotel. For fans of the original there will be moments of nostalgia. There is also a really great scene that is both an homage and a really well executed jump scare.
The Stanley Hotel is the real life name of the Overlook Hotel and you can still visit it today in Colorado. A friend of mine has actually visited it and I really want to do the same. The Stanley Hotel is just absolutely breathtaking. Back to the review. The way Dr. Sleep ties back into The Shining is pretty perfect, at least in my opinion. I did read Doctor Sleep when it first came out, but I was not able to retain much of it. I guess it didn’t stick with me. The film however, will for sure linger in my subconscious for a while and I really can’t wait to see it a second time with my other little crew.
Doctor Sleep is a great film with relatable, well written, and fantastically acted characters. Mike Flanagan and Akiva Goldsman meticulously crafted an amazing screen play, which was then fine tuned into something incredibly palatable for, not just diehard fans of The Shining, but also for modern film audiences. There are some scenes which are unsettling. They are short but effective in helping film convey just how evil the True Knot are. Preying on not just those with special powers, but those among them who are at their end.
The True Knot, I believe, are symbolic of a real life evil. One that has been a plague on our society for a long time. It’s coming from out of the shadows and invading our everyday life. There are those in positions of power who prey on the young either by killing them or corrupting and turning them. Just like the members of the True Knot. Those who stand against them often end of paying the ultimate price. But people still have to make a stand, even if it’s not seen as being politically correct. Fuck political correctness.
I titled this review Find your calling, Face your fears because that is what Danny does in the film. It’s something that I believe is crucial when it comes to living the life you want. A life with no regrets and no ghosts waiting to jump at us from out of the shadows when we least expect it. If you read this, I do hope you will give this film a chance. I guess I will close this out as I usually do.
Till next time my dear friends and readers.
FUCK THE CRITICS!