DOCTOR SLEEP (2019) Reviews and overview

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Doctor Sleep will be released on Digital on January 21st 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 4th 2020. A new trailer has been released:

The releases include the 180-minute (3 hours) director’s cut, which runs 28 minutes longer than the theatrical version.

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of the epic movie itself:

Doctor Sleep is a 2019 American paranormal horror feature film written and directed by Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil; Hush; Before I Wake; Oculus). The movie is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel of the same name, which was a sequel to his 1977 bestseller The Shining, plus it connects to Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining (1980).

After the first trailer was premiered in Los Angeles, Mike Flanagan took questions and confirmed: “It is an adaptation of the novel ‘Doctor Sleep’, which is Stephen King’s sequel to his novel ‘The Shining’.

But this also exists very much in the same cinematic universe that Kubrick established in his adaptation of The Shining and reconciling those three, at times very different sources has been kind of the most challenging and thrilling part of this creatively, for us.”

Flanagan also confirmed that they had talked to Stephen King about combining his novel with Kubrick’s movie: “And our pitches to Stephen went over surprisingly well, and we came out of the conversation with not only his blessing to do what we ended up doing but his encouragement,” he said.

“It’s interesting too because what you’ve seen today, in the more iconic imagery that’s been on the screen, that isn’t taken from the Kubrick film,” Flanagan explained. “There’s only one shot in the trailer you saw that’s actually his footage, and that’s the shot of the bloody elevators.”

Ewan McGregor stars as protagonist Danny Torrance. The supporting cast includes Kyleigh Curran as Abra Stone, Carl Lumbly as Dick Halloran, Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) as Wendy Torrance, Bruce Greenwood as Danny’s friend Doctor John Dalton, Rebecca Ferguson as cult leader Rose the Hat and Zahn McClarnon as her right-hand man Crow Daddy. Horror regular Jocelin Donahue (Dead Awake; Summer CampThe House of the Devil; Insidious: Chapter 2) plays Lucy.


Years after the events at the Overlook Hotel, the now middle-aged Danny Torrance who is still traumatised.

He’s followed in his father’s footsteps and has problems with anger management and alcoholism.

However, he soon gives up drinking and settles in a small town in New Hampshire. While there, his psychic abilities start to resurface and he develops a psychic link with a twelve-year-old girl named Abra Stone who he must save after he discovers her life is being threatened by a tribe of paranormals led by a man named Rose the Hat…


“The dirty trick of Doctor Sleep is that it’s just another nostalgic franchise extension, turning one character’s therapeutic journey into a convenient excuse to play the hits. Whether audiences will be willing to trudge through a slightly dopey, marginally similar fantasy yarn to reach the entrance of that old hotel is a question for the shiners.” AV Club

“Any two-and-a-half-hour sequel to The Shining should definitely have a few more scares and a lot more gore than this one. Still, Doctor Sleep improves when you realise that it is less of a horror film than a melancholy, horror-tinged superhero movie.” BBC

” …there are too many possibilities in Doctor Sleep’s universe for the film to rigidly follow just one genre and feel satisfying. There are moments when it’s clearly a nightmare-driven haunted house film, moments when it’s a character-driven drama about addiction, and moments when it’s a mythology-driven expansion of the world King merely hinted at in the original.” Bloody Disgusting

“Its arcs ground the movie with wrenching emotion rather than gory horror. Those colors may not show up as brightly under a harsher King or Kubrick light. But wobbling on an occasional well-intentioned rail can’t stop the train from chugging into the station on the strength of expertly crafted chills.” Culture Crypt

“Much like It Chapter Two, a lot has been made of Doctor Sleep‘s 152-minute runtime before release, but, unlike that movie, it doesn’t quite justify the length. The slow pace is quite a challenge when there’s not that much going on plot-wise, but it is successful in fully immersing you in King’s (and Flanagan’s) strange world, which is interesting enough to ensure it doesn’t completely drag.” Digital Spy

“Working off source material that is very different from its predecessor, anyone expecting a straightforward Shining sequel will be disappointed. This isn’t a gruelling exercise in pure horror. It’s odder and more contemplative, but worth checking in.” Empire

…Doctor Sleep is a mess. It’s way too long, clashing somber sobriety with loony cheap thrills. The Shining homages turn shameless and cheap. The jumpscares are more funny than scary. Dan is a problem. McGregor used to be such a livewire performer, but he’s frozen stolid here.” Entertainment Weekly

“It might lean a little too hard on nostalgia during the final acts (bits and pieces of The Shining updated look fantastic, but are not necessary and service more of a distraction cutting away to that film), but it’s difficult to deny becoming absorbed. The smallest of characters add to the story, even if the whole doesn’t really come together until it reaches the Overlook Hotel.” Flickering Myth

“Flanagan finds ways to evoke the ambience and tone of the Kubrick film that never overstay their welcome with cleverly matched shots, sound design, and character cameos […] It’s in the final 45 minutes or so that the balancing act starts to feel precarious, but by that time, the characters themselves will have you so hooked that you’ll be willing to forgive the less-than-subtle nostalgia overload.” Gamespot

“When it’s focusing on the new things it brings to the table, Doctor Sleep is consistently terrifying, visually impressive, and soulful in equal measure. Though it may get a little heavy-handed and tonally confused in its reverence for Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the homestretch, the vast majority of the film succeeds in using the Torrance family’s pain to tell a story of coming to terms with the past.” IGN

“There are moments that are gut-punch shocking and others that creep deep under your skin, with Flanagan once again demonstrating his consummate skill with eerie composition and staging. It all culminates in that last act at the Overlook, which brings shivers of recognition as well when certain familiar faces show up.” Rue Morgue

Doctor Sleep may be based on a book and a movie and a book that was a sequel to the first book, but much of it feels like it was ripped right out of Mike Flanagan’s soul. Like HBO’s new Watchmen series, Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep doesn’t simply rehash its source material, and instead uses its characters, setting, and themes in smart and novel ways.” Screen Crush

“For all of its supernatural majesty, The Shining, both on the page and onscreen, was about writer’s block and the secret fear of being discovered as a fraud. Doctor Sleep is unwittingly about that as well; it digitally re-creates the snowy Overlook Hotel as a site for a boring telekinetic showdown, not realizing that it has constructed a tombstone to itself.” Time Out

“[Rebecca] Ferguson is all vicious excellence as Rose, the freakiest weirdo in a hat since Mister Babadook. King’s rogues’ gallery is deep, and in a year when Pennywise again got most of the headlines, Rose more than holds her own with a tempting menace and a surprising maternal streak.” USA Today

Doctor Sleep is a prosaic movie, but one that earns its shock waves of emotion. It isn’t until the final third that the story settles back into the Overlook Hotel  […] This sequel to The Shining may register, in the end, as a long footnote, but it makes you glad that you got to play in that sinister funhouse again.” Variety

Doctor Sleep has been brought forward from a 2020 release by Intrepid Pictures, Warner Bros. and Vertigo Entertainment. The hugely anticipated film is now scheduled for a November 8th, 2019 release.

Director Flanagan previously helmed the successful movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, a novel that had also been said to be untranslatable for the screen.

Ewan MacGregor previously told The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert: “Well, it’s very faithful to the book, the script. If you’ve read the novel, that’s the story we’re going to tell.”

Cast and characters:
Rebecca Ferguson … Rose the Hat
Jacob Tremblay
Ewan McGregor … Danny Torrance
Bruce Greenwood … Doctor John
Zahn McClarnon … Crow Daddy
Emily Alyn Lind … Snakebite Andi
Carel Struycken … Grandpa. Flick
Jocelin Donahue … Lucy
Catherine Parker … Silent Sarey
Robert Longstreet … Barry
Carl Lumbly … Dick Halloran
Chelsea Talmadge … Deenie
Alex Essoe … Wendy Torrance
Jason Davis … Businessman
Juan Gaspard … Bar Patron
Selena Anduze … Apron Annie
Zackary Momoh
Kevin Petruski Jr … Bar Patron
Shane Brady … Magician
Kyliegh Curran … Abra Stone
David Michael-Smith … Recovering Alcoholic
J.T. Blair … Middle School Student
Jay D. Kacho … Detective
Thomas Downing … Bar Patron
Deadra Moore … Mrs Robertson
Marc Demeter … Construction Worker
Met Clark … Short Eddie
Mistie Gibby … Bobbie

Filming locations:
Atlanta, Georgia

Technical details:
Two hours 32 minutes

Film Facts:
Akiva Goldsman (The Dark Tower; Rings) worked on an early draft of the screenplay.

Box office:
Doctor Sleep took a disappointing $14,114,124 over its first three days in the USA on 3,855 screens. Overall, the movie eventually took $31,427,053 domestically, $39,700,000 internationally and $71,127,053 was its worldwide total.

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