• by Wes Singleton

Doctor Sleep - B-

Rated R, 152 minutes

The overlong, creepy "Doctor Sleep" is a serviceable sequel to the Stanley Kubrick classic "The Shining," based on Stephen King's book of the same, though that film is still by far one of the creepiest films ever made.

Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) remains traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was a child. His hope for a peaceful existence soon becomes shattered when he meets Abra (Kyliegh Curran in her film debut), a teen who shares his extrasensory gift of the "shine." Together, they form an unlikely alliance to battle the True Knot, a cult led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) whose members try to feed off the shine of innocents to become immortal.

"Doctor Sleep" is a compelling, suitably spooky revisionist tale as we follow a troubled, adult Dan Torrance battle more demons, this time with the help of a young girl who has similar powers. Directed and written by horror film director Mike Flanagan ("Absentia," "Oculus"), "Doctor Sleep" is based on King's 2013 follow-up of the same name. King's book, much like the film itself, can't compare to the original, but it's peppered with some creepy moments that'll remind you of the original.

"Sleep's" dense, flawed narrative is filled with too many characters and subplots in its 152 minute running time, and it takes too much time to get to its tense climax, a showdown between Dan (McGregor, well-cast here), Abra, in an auspicious film debut from Curran, who steals many scenes in the film, and Rose the Hat, played with delicious appeal by "The White Queen's" Ferguson. As the clear antagonist, Ferguson has the most fun and is by far the most interesting character (who takes vaping to a new level), though some scenes are taken out from under her by a fearless Curran, who holds her own in the climax.

The last sequence is also its most interesting, in a recreation of the snowy hotel from "The Shining" and we also see bits of that film recreated for this film too. That's a grown Henry Thomas of "E.T." portraying the Jack Nicholson role from the film, and it's thankfully restrained as few are a match for the iconic Nicholson. "Sleep" takes too long to get to that finale, with Flanagan intent on being as faithful as possible to King's book.

Know going in that "Doctor Sleep" is not "The Shining." It's a decently creepy follow-up to "The Shining" but is about 30 minutes too long and too often stands in the shadow of the classic 1980 film, which is worth another viewing after this film.


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