REVIEW: DOCTOR SLEEP

 

Starring

Ewan McGregor (Beginners)
Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train)
Kyliegh Curran (I Can I Will I Did)
Cliff Curtis (The Meg)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Zahn McClarnon (Westworld)
Emily Alyn Lind (The Babysitter)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Jocelin Donahue (Holidays)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Jacob Tremblay (Good Boys)
Henry Thomas (E.T.)
Bethany Anne Lind (Reprisal)
Danny Lloyd (Will: G. Gordon Liddy)
Molly C. Quinn (Castle)

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)In 1980, sometime after their traumatic experiences in the haunted Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance and his mother Wendy live in Florida. Danny sees one of the Overlook’s ghosts—the rotting woman from Room 237—in his bathroom. Dick Hallorann, a benevolent spirit, explains that the ghosts feed on Danny’s psychic ability, his “shining”. Now that the hotel has been abandoned, the starving ghosts are pursuing Danny. Hallorann teaches him to lock them in imaginary “boxes” in his mind. Meanwhile, the True Knot, a cult of psychic vampires led by Rose the Hat, extend their lifespans by consuming “steam”, a psychic essence released as they torture and kill those who have the shining.Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)In 2011, Danny—now “Dan”—has become an alcoholic to suppress his shining. After stealing money from a single mother, following a one-night stand, he realizes he has hit rock bottom. He moves to a small New Hampshire town and befriends Billy Freeman, who finds him an apartment and becomes his AA sponsor. Rehabilitating, Dan becomes a hospice orderly. He uses his shining to comfort dying patients, who nickname him “Doctor Sleep”. He also begins receiving telepathic communications from Abra Stone, a young girl whose shining is even more powerful than his. Meanwhile, Rose and her lover, Crow Daddy, observe a teenager named Snakebite Andi who has the ability to physically control individuals. They later recruit Andi into the True Knot after feeding her the steam of Violet, a young girl whom the cult murdered at the start of the film.Rebecca Ferguson and Kyliegh Curran in Doctor Sleep (2019)In 2019, the True Knot are starving as the steam has become increasingly rare. They abduct a young boy, Bradley, and torture him to death for his steam. A teenage Abra senses the event, and her distress alerts both Dan (in the form of the word MURDER appearing on his wall) and the wicked True Knot leader Rose. Rose sets her sights on Abra, planning to extract her steam. Realizing the danger, Abra visits Dan in person and tells him she can track the cult if she touches Bradley’s baseball glove. Dan refuses to help, telling her to suppress her shining to stay safe. That night, Rose projects her consciousness across the country and infiltrates Abra’s mind but finds that Abra has set an imaginary trap, which injures Rose. After cult member Grandpa Flick dies of starvation, Rose sends the remaining members after Abra.Rebecca Ferguson, Robert Longstreet, and Catherine Parker in Doctor Sleep (2019)Hallorann visits Dan a final time, telling him to protect Abra as Hallorann once protected him. Dan tells Billy about the True Knot. They travel to the murder scene and exhume Bradley’s body to retrieve his glove. They recruit Abra’s father, Dave, and have him guard Abra’s body as she projects herself to a local campsite, luring the cult there. Dan and Billy shoot most of them dead, though a dying Andi compels Billy into suicide.Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)Meanwhile, Crow Daddy kills Dave and abducts Abra, drugging her to suppress her shining. Dan telepathically contacts Abra, who lets him possess her, and manipulates Crow into crashing his car, killing him and freeing Abra. While Dan and Abra reunite, Rose consumes the cult’s remaining stockpile of steam, healing her wounds and vowing revenge. As a last resort, Dan brings Abra to the Overlook, believing it will be as dangerous for Rose as it is for them. He starts the hotel’s boiler and explores the dormant building, “awakening” it with his shining. He revisits the rooms where his alcoholic father, Jack, influenced by the Overlook, attempted to murder him and Wendy. At the hotel bar, Dan is greeted by “Lloyd”, a ghostly bartender who strongly resembles Jack Torrance. The apparition attempts to coax Dan into drinking again, but Dan ultimately declines.Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)Rose arrives at the Overlook. Dan and Abra pull her consciousness into Dan’s mind, which resembles the Overlook’s endless hedge maze. Dan tries to trap her in an imaginary box but fails. Rose, attracted by Dan’s shining, invites him to join the cult, but he refuses. When she overpowers him and begins consuming his steam, Dan opens the boxes, releasing the Overlook’s hungry ghosts from his mind. Rose, being a psychic vampire, is vulnerable to direct attacks by the ghosts. They brutally kill her, consuming her steam and then possessing Dan. He and the ghosts pursue Abra to Room 237. She tells the hotel that Dan sabotaged the boiler. Dan, regaining momentary control, tells her to flee. Possessed, he rushes to the boiler room but regains control before the hotel can make him deactivate it. Flames engulf the room. In his last moment, Dan sees a vision of himself as a child being embraced by his mother, Wendy. Abra watches helplessly as the hotel burns down just as the authorities approach.Rebecca Ferguson in Doctor Sleep (2019)Sometime later, Abra talks to Dan’s spirit—they assure each other that they will both be okay, and Dan disappears. Abra’s mother learns to adjust with her daughter’s powers, especially in communicating with the spirit of her deceased husband. As her mother leaves the room, Abra notices the ghost of the rotting woman from the Overlook is in the bathroom and prepares to lock the ghost up just as Danny did.Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep (2019)If you are going into this film expecting it to be a straight up sequel to the Kubrick film with the same horror tone, you’ll be disappointed, however if you have an open mind, this movie is very well directed and acted and the story is very compelling. This is more of a fantasy thriller than a horror film and I really like that about this film. It also does quite a bit of homage to the 1980 film, but takes it into a new and interesting direction with a deep underlying theme direct from Steven King.

REVIEW: THE SHINING

CAST

Jack Nicholson (As Good As it Gets)
Shelley Duvall (Annie Hall)
Danny Lloyd (Will: G. Gordon Liddy)
Scatman Crothers (Transformers)
Barry Nelson (A Guy Named Joe)
Philip Stone (FLash Gordon)
Joe Turkel (Portrait of a Mobster)
Barry Dennen (Superman III)
Tony Burton (Rocky II)
Anne Jackson (The Bell Jar)

Jack Torrance arrives at the mountain-isolated Overlook Hotel, which is twenty-five miles from the closest town, to be interviewed for the position of winter caretaker. Once hired, Jack plans to use the hotel’s solitude to write. The hotel, built on the site of a Native American burial ground, becomes snowed-in during the winter; it is closed from October to May. Manager Stuart Ullman warns Jack that a previous caretaker, Charles Grady, developed cabin fever and killed his family and himself. In Boulder, Jack’s son, Danny Torrance, has a terrifying premonition about the hotel, viewing a cascade of blood emerging from an elevator door, and then falls into a trance. Jack’s wife, Wendy, tells a doctor that Danny has an imaginary friend named Tony, and that Jack has given up drinking because he dislocated Danny’s shoulder following a binge.The family arrives at the hotel on closing day and is given a tour. The chef, Dick Hallorann, surprises Danny by telepathically offering him ice cream. Dick explains to Danny that he and his grandmother shared this telepathic ability, which he calls “shining”. Danny asks if there is anything to be afraid of in the hotel, particularly room 237. Hallorann tells Danny that the hotel has a “shine” to it along with many memories, not all of which are good. He also tells Danny to stay away from room 237.A month passes; while Jack’s writing goes nowhere, Danny and Wendy explore the hotel’s hedge maze, and Hallorann goes to Florida. Wendy learns that the phone lines are out due to the heavy snowfall, and Danny has frightening visions. Jack, increasingly frustrated, starts behaving strangely and becomes prone to violent outbursts. Danny’s curiosity about room 237 overcomes him when he sees the room’s door open. Later, Wendy finds Jack screaming during a nightmare while asleep at his typewriter. After she awakens him, Jack says he dreamed that he killed her and Danny. Danny arrives and is visibly traumatized with a bruise on his neck, causing Wendy to accuse Jack of abusing him. Jack wanders into the hotel’s Gold Room and meets a ghostly bartender named Lloyd. Lloyd serves him bourbon whiskey while Jack complains about his marriage. Wendy later tells Jack that Danny told her a “crazy woman in one of the rooms” attempted to strangle him. Jack investigates room 237, encountering the ghost of a dead woman, but tells Wendy that he saw nothing. Wendy and Jack argue over whether Danny should be removed from the hotel and a furious Jack returns to the Gold Room, now filled with ghosts attending a ball. He meets the ghost of Grady who tells Jack that he must “correct” his wife and child and that Danny has reached out to Hallorann using his “talent”. Meanwhile, Hallorann grows concerned about what’s going on at the hotel and flies back to Colorado. Danny starts calling out “redrum” and goes into a trance, referring to himself as “Tony”.While searching for Jack, Wendy discovers he has been typing pages of a repetitive manuscript: “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. She begs Jack to leave the hotel with Danny, but he threatens her before she knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat. She drags him into the kitchen and locks him in the pantry, but she and Danny are both trapped at the hotel: Jack has disabled the hotel’s two-way radio and snowcat. Later, Jack converses through the pantry door with Grady, who unlocks the door.Danny writes “REDRUM” on the outside of the bathroom door in the family’s living quarters. When Wendy sees the word reversed in the bedroom mirror, the word is revealed to be “MURDER”. Jack begins hacking through the quarters’ main door with a firefighter’s axe. Wendy sends Danny through the bathroom window, but it will not open sufficiently for her to pass. Jack breaks through the bathroom door, shouting “Here’s Johnny!”, but retreats after Wendy slashes his hand with a butcher’s knife. Hearing Hallorann arriving in a snowcat he borrowed, Jack leaves the room. He murders Hallorann with the axe in the lobby and pursues Danny into the hedge maze. Wendy runs through the hotel looking for Danny, encountering ghosts and the cascade of blood Danny envisioned in Boulder. She also finds Hallorann’s corpse in the lobby. Danny lays a false trail to mislead Jack, who is following his footprints, before hiding behind a drift. Danny escapes from the maze and reunites with Wendy; they escape in Hallorann’s snowcat, while Jack freezes to death in the snow. In an old photograph in the hotel hallway dated July 4, 1921, Jack Torrance smiles front and center amid a crowd of party revelers at the Overlook.The Shining is, in my opinion, a special landmark in horror cinema which will always be regarded as one of the scariest movies in film history. It is an unforgettable, chilling, majestic and truly, profoundly scary film crafted by an eccentric genius who wants to show that the impossible can be done. The Shining is a sublime, hauntingly intriguing and endlessly watchable film that shows Kubrick at his best.