Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance in the supernatural thriller "Doctor Sleep." TNS
Saleha Irfan, Senior Sub-Editor/Reporter
Runtime: 2h 31m
Over the weekend, my sister dragged me to watch “Doctor Sleep.” I say dragged because I am not a big fan of the horror genre.
I protested, whined, threw a tantrum, but none of this concerned her. I insisted that we go for something light-hearted and funny but all my pleadings fell on deaf ears.
I reiterated how much I hated scary movies to which she showed me Google results of “how scary is “Doctor Sleep”?”
(Spoiler alert: It isn’t!)
So I finally gave in and sat through the first 10 minutes of the movie unhappily. When my sister saw how miserable I was, she offered to leave the cinema. But I refused! I was adamant to sit through a movie I wouldn’t enjoy and have her know it. (Childish, I know!)
I didn’t even get popcorn because I didn’t want to waste my calories on a movie I didn’t want to see. But 15 minutes into the movie, I stood up to go get popcorn. Why, you ask.
I was hooked. “Doctor Sleep” is the perfect mix of thriller, mystery and drama.
A sequel to “The Shining,” “Doctor Sleep,” tells the story of the little boy Danny, now an adult played by Ewan McGregor, who had the ability to “shine,” to see into the past and communicate telepathically. He now goes by Dan.
In the opening scene of the film, he is visited by the ghost of his friend Hallorann, played by Carl Lumbly, who advises that just as Hallorann helped young Danny, Dan eventually will be called upon to assist a youngster who has the shining.
My favourite thing about “Doctor Sleep” was the way the story was structured. It had three central characters with three separate story lines, which all came together neatly in the finale.
There’s Dan, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), whose parents try to ignore her paranormal powers and Rose (Rebecca Ferguson), who masterminds a cult called True Knot, that travels the US in search of children to torture so they can feast on their fear and pain and “live long, eat well.”
With the events of the Overlook Hotel still bearing heavily on his mind, Dan decides to move to a small town to overcome his alcoholism and clean up his act. There he meets and befriends Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis).
Dan also gets a job at a hospice where he uses his shine abilities to comfort dying patients, earning him the nickname of Doctor Sleep. He also begins receiving telepathic communications from Abra, who has the ability to see visions of children in torment. She sees True Knot abducting a young boy named Bradley and torturing him to death to extract as much steam as they can. Her distress alerts Rose, who hatches a plan to abduct her next.
Abra and Dan then join forces to take True Knot down.
As “Doctor Sleep” builds toward its climax, the “Shining” references begin to pile up: the thundery tones of its musical score, aerial shots of cars in the wilderness, that kind of thing.
A lot of characters from “The Shining” make a return: The creepy twins, Jack and Wendy Torrance (Danny’s parents), the Overlook Hotel itself and, my least favourite, the rotting Room 237 Ghost.
It has been a while since I have seen a well-written thriller, which keeps you on the edge of your seats for the entire duration of its running time.
I really enjoyed the movie and I guess I can be a bigger person and admit that.
But now, my sister is never going to let me live it down.
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