Monday, November 18, 2019

Doctor Sleep, 2019 - ★★½

I may be in the minority with this one, but I just didn't really like this movie all that much. As a follow-up to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, it just wasn't all that scary and I didn't really get into the whole steam-eating eternal-life subplot. Rebecca Ferguson (someone who I really like in most everything she's been in) plays Rose the Hat (yes that's her name in the credits). Rose indeed wears an annoying hat throughout and her and her rag-tag band of shinning vagabonds prey on other "special" shiners and end up prolonging their lives by feasting on the steam ("essence") that is excreted upon their death. That's really the premise of the whole film and whether this is a Stephen King brainchild or not, I just didn't like that whole supernatural element.

Ewan McGregor is great in the lead role of an older Danny Torrence with an alcohol addiction and the powers to be able to communicate with others like him through mental telepathy. The rest of the "True Knot" characters that are hunting child-shiners are forgettable and look like they're rejects from Twilight with the way they feast on the essence of others. Newcomer Kyliegh Curran was actually very good and believable as Abra (a new "shiner" that befriends Danny). Her solid chemistry with McGregor helps move the film along.

Now I really did like the Shining and all the creepy shit that went on in that film. Maybe I just was more moved by Nicholson's crazy metamorphosis and Kubrik's weird-ness but I didn't get that same feeling watching this film. My wife really liked and I know others did as well, but I feel like I missed the boat with Mike Flanagan's film here. Flanagan does do a few cool tricks including a trippy astral-projection sequence in which Rose "flies" over to Abra's house and all the musical and visual tie-ins to The Shining are well done, but overall I was just underwhelmed by the film as a whole. I think I wanted it to be more of an isolated horror story rather than the broader supernatural tale I was presented with. By all means, go and see it for yourself and make your own judgment. This isn't a bad movie, but it also just isn't for me.

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