Released 11/08/2019 Rated: R
This movie was amazing. I haven’t seen a film this well rounded in a while. I haven’t read the book, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen The Shining, but this movie hit everything I needed it to. Most of the references to The Shining don’t come around until the third act, which I felt was a great way to cap the film. Some scenes were recreated and others were added, and the actors they got to portray both Duvall and Nicholson were spot on.
There’s a review from the New York Times that while I don’t agree with the overall review, the beginning of the last paragraph perfectly sums up this film in a nutshell. “Doctor Sleep” is not a Stephen-King-scares-the-pants-off-you kind of movie. It’s a Stephen-King invites-you-to-ponder-the-nature-of-evil kind of movie. I love that description. This movie isn’t about haunted hotels or a mystical clown hiding in the sewer. The horror of this movie is based more in the real world than that of the fictional one.
Dan Torrence may be our main protagonist, but he’s not the most interesting character we follow. He’s been running from everything for his entire life, and unfortunately for him he’s running right down the same path as his father. It’s not until he finds himself in a small town where a stranger helps him get a room and a job that he manages to turn his life around. But it’s his psychic connection with Abra, a young teen in another town, that stirs up the quiet life he’s built for himself these past few years. When she witnesses the brutal murder of a young boy she turns to Dan for help in stopping the group responsible. Despite Dan’s warning not to draw their attention, Abra can’t let it go, and has now become the new target in their hunt.
This movie took its time to really flesh out this world and its characters. Most movies don’t really do that these days, and I feel had anyone else been behind the wheel they would have cut some of the “nonessential” scenes for time. But it’s those scenes that invest the audience in the entire story this movie is telling. It’s the villains who make or break a movie, and when the audience understands their motivations and how they operate it makes for a more compelling film. The problem with allowing the audience to empathize with the villain is that you then have to remind the audience that they’re the bad guys. And in regards to this movie that scene comes in the form of torturing and killing a young boy. I feel like the scene was done very well. It’s not excessively gory, and they don’t blatantly show what they’re doing to him, it’s all just off screen; nevertheless, it is difficult to watch.
And speaking of our antagonists, Rebecca Ferguson was phenomenal as Rosie. I’ve seen her here and there, but I absolutely loved her in this movie. She was everything she needed to be. This powerful and wise leader in the guise of this carefree, almost gypsy-esque woman. She’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants, and no one can take her down. If anything of her performance stuck with me it’s the shot of her screaming as “family members” are being killed hundreds of miles away. It was so powerful.
I don’t feel as though this review has done the movie justice, but I very much enjoyed it. I think we’re definitely going to find time to hit it again in theaters. Will definitely be owning this one.