Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Having not read the book I went into this movie expecting it to lean heavily on Danny Torrance and his return to the Overlook Hotel- the haunted hell hotel where the events of The Shining took place.
I was pleasantly surprised that the highlight of this movie was the war between Rose the Hat and young justice seeking Abra.
Rose the Hat played by Rebecca Ferguson is not just a great female villain but she’s vicious, cruel, unrepentant and not even the littlest bit sympathetic.
She and her crew murder and suck the steam (what Danny calls the shine- basically physic abilities) out of children. Basically they’re the Pennywise of Danny’s world.
Kyliegh Curran plays Abra a young and exceedingly powerful shiner who unfortunately connects to Rose and sees a particularly vicious murder (more on that in a minute…) Rose wants Abra’s soul to replenish her stock. Abra wants justice for the victim and quite enjoys playing with Rose’s head and making her suffer. (I really loved Abra.)
Abra mentally finds and then seeks out traumatized Danny who after years of drugs and alcoholism finally has a measure of peace. He tells Abra to hide but the battle of the telepaths only heightens and in the end Danny must do the right thing and join the battle.
Overall Doctor Sleep is an okay movie. It feels a little disjointed. I was expecting Rose to have some sort of connection to the hotel or at least the events in the first movie. On the one hand I think they did a reasonable job for most of the movie of not trading on those events naturally until they get back to the hotel and then it was some hard core trading.
Speaking of that I was really taken out of the movie every time they used not-Jack and not-Shelley. Especially not-Jack. It wasn’t even a very good impersonation and my brain just clicked off every time. I can understand not wanting to de-age the actors but then just don’t use the characters.
Although I do think the film did a good job with Danny’s alcoholism and connecting that to past and his father.
My other big problem- you can count me and my roommate as among the people thinking the murder of Baseball Boy (played by the always excellent Jacob Tremblay so he really sells it) goes to far.
Yes, I knew what Rose did.
Yes, it was important.
But watching him gasp for air, bleed and beg for his life while they tortured him… not so much. And if your looking for horror- it was pretty much that and the arrival at the hotel which I thought to myself no, fucking way would I ever go into that place.
Despite Rose, Abra and the otherwise excellent cast I would say this is a better rental than anything and that’s if you can stomach the Baseball Boy stuff.