The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Its no secret that I am not a fan of the Shining. I’ve mentioned that in multiple reviews, articles, and interviews. I just found it incredibly boring. Maybe it was because I saw it so long after it was released, or I was simply not in the mood for it at the time I watched it, but it never did anything for me. Sure the acting was great, and the plot was good, but it simply never clicked with me. Needless to say I never read the follow up book Dr. Sleep, nor did I watch the Shining Mini-Series Stephen King wrote back in 1997. See King didn’t care for the Shining film and decided to remake it as a miniseries so it would be closer to his book. Dr. Sleep is an adaptation of that book, but also changed in parts to connect the original 1980 film to it.
Dr Sleep turns the focus onto Jack Torrance’s son Danny. Danny, still haunted by the events of what happened at the Overlook Hotel has an encounter with the old ghost from the bathtub, which leads him to seeing Dan Halloran again. Dan was the Chef portrayed by Scatman Crothers in the original film who also possesses the “Shining” He warns Danny that since the hotel is closed the ghosts have nothing to feed off of, and want his Shining to feed. Dan teaches Danny how to trap these evil spirits away in his mind.
Cutting ahead 20 years Dan has become an alcoholic to help suppress his Shining abilities. He ends up getting help and even a job as an orderly at a nursing home thanks to his AA Sponsor. He begins using his powers to help take are of the dying patients and give them peace. They nickname him “Dr Sleep” because of this. Things seem to be going ok for Danny until he begins hearing messages from a girl named Abra, who also has the same Shining powers. She is actually able to use her powers to control peoples minds. She is being chased by a group known as True Knot. They are an evil group who feed on the energy they call “Steam” which is in fact the psychic abilities that people possess. They find them and kill them to increase there own life cycle. They want Abra as she is the most powerful person out there. She needs Danny’s help as he has the ability to use his powers to trap them in his mind. Of course this all leads them back to the Overlook Hotel for a final showdown.
So for a guy who hated The Shining, I really enjoyed Dr Sleep. It’s a long movie, let me get that out the way. The Directs Cut clock just above 3 hours. But its never dull. Sure its psychological horror, but its all very interesting. The idea of a psychic vampire draining cult is pretty great in my opinion and it really held my interest throughout the film. Ewan McGregor gives an outstanding performance as Danny going from troubled drunk to hero. His range of emotions is fantastic and his chemistry on screen with Kyleigh Curran as Abra is fantastic. Rebecca Ferguson is another stand out as the evil leader of the True Knot Rose the Hat. She’s simply evil and menacing in every sense of the word, and never once does she play it to campy or silly.
Warner Brothers has released this on Blu-ray and like all there films the transfer is fantastic. Everything looks marvelous. Its some of the best dark footage I have seen. The film boasts a chilling score and it sounds great bellowing out of your surround sound speakers. Its got a few special features, but the most important is the full 3 hour Directors Cut, which is a bout 40min longer than the theatrical, and in my opinion it’s the version to watch.
Fans of The Shining will enjoy this follow up, and even the few out there like me who don’t hold it in such high regard should like this one as well. It’s a really cool story with a lot of great twists and turns. Well-acted, and well directed it’s a great film for horror fans who enjoy psychological scares. Pick it up.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!