DOCTOR SLEEP REVIEW:
Adapted from Stephen King’s 1997 novel and acting as a direct sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’, ‘Doctor Sleep’ immerses audiences once again into the lives of the Torrance family. Set years after it’s predecessor and focusing in on Danny (Ewan McGregor), the film sees him tasked with protecting a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on young children with powers to remain immortal.
Despite weak material all around them, the one thing that truly works in ‘Doctor Sleep’ are the actors and their performances. Rebecca Ferguson is a stand out as Rose the Hat, the lead antagonist and leader of The True Knot. There is not a shred of sympathy that you can feel for Ferguson’s character, and the performance thrives on that very fact. McGregor steps out of his comfort zone and gives a good performance as lead Danny Torrance, though by no means is this ‘career-defining’ work for him. The strong supporting cast including Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon and Emily Alyn Lind all help elevate the already alluded to mediocre material around them.
The script is the basis for all the issues with this film. Despite the good acting across the board, the movie is overstuffed with characters who aren’t needed, or rather who don’t compliment one another’s storylines. This could be traced back to a lack of development story-wise, which is the fault of writer Mike Flanagan. Coming off the highly-successful ‘The Haunting of Hill House’, Flanagan more than stumbles with this. Some content is good, but it can avert audiences away from the fact that there is too much going on. Not to mention, there is a glaring lack of originality that is hard to ignore.
The set design is a positive, particularly the recreation of famous sets from ‘The Shining’, and everything art-direction and production design-wise is on point. Certain elements, for example, the ‘steam’, were horridly executed, and didn’t do much to make up for the lacklustre script.
Overall, while being visually-stunning well-acted, ‘Doctor Sleep’ misses the mark when it comes to the storytelling side of things. Proceed with caution.