Doctor Sleep

Rated 2.0

Stephen King fans know he hated Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for trivializing Jack Torrance’s alcoholism and redirecting the evil powers of the Overlook Hotel. In essence, Doctor Sleep, his sequel to The Shining, almost seems to exist partly to right some of the wrongs that King perceived in Kubrick’s movie. Alas, Mike Flanagan, the man behind the excellent and creepy The Haunting of Hill House, makes the decision to incorporate Kubrick’s film into his own adaptation of Doctor Sleep. The results are a mixed bag of genuinely scary moments and passages that make the film too dependent on the glory of Kubrick. Trying to recreate a Kubrick moment without Kubrick? Not advised. The film starts with Danny Torrance riding around the Overlook on his Big Wheels, and making that dreaded stop in room 237 where the old lady has stayed in the bathtub way too long. The film then jumps ahead to Dan as an adult, played by Ewan McGregor. Dan, like his daddy before him, drinks a lot. In some ways, which I won’t give away, King gets a chance for some do-overs, as some of the scenes and themes in Doctor Sleep reference parts of King’s original novel as well as the sequel book. King has long bemoaned the ending of the Kubrick’s film, and I can see why he might like the Doctor Sleep conclusion. As for me, I thought the movie was better when it wasn’t hanging around the Overlook Hotel. The moments in the Overlook, although visually impressive for sure, felt like little more than a stunt, with no real, viable reason for the protagonists to be running around in Kubrick’s nightmare.