Set forty years after Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) tried to kill his family in The Overlook Hotel, Doctor Sleep follows a grown-up Danny Torrance (played by Ewan McGregor) who is still afflicted by the supernatural abilities, which he calls The Shining.
Danny numbs his ‘gift’ with alcohol, and stumbles from town to town picking up a selection of odd-jobs (mostly in homes for the dying) as he tries to make sense of his existence. He arrives in the New Hampshire town of Frazier, and it’s here where he finally finds some emotional solace. It is also where he feels the presence of Abra, a young girl whose life is in danger from The True Knot, a cult of ‘Steam’ vampires who thrive on the energy given-off when those with The Shining die.
Doctor Sleep is a faithful adaptation of King’s novel and Mike Flanagan nails the tone of the book and it’s various plot threads. McGregor is good as the conflicted Danny and he’s able to give the character a lot of weight, something of a necessity when you’re dealing with a man suffering from some serious PTSD.
The big selling point of Doctor Sleep is how Flanagan has recreated The Overlook Hotel from Kubrick’s film, complete with its assorted collection of macabre residents. It’s a sight to behold and the film really comes together in the last act. It’s worth watching just for this alone.
Some might argue that Doctor Sleep leans too much on Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and that might be true but it’s one hell of a film to lean on. Flanagan and company make sure that they add to that original story, rather than taking away from it and that makes this a worthwhile adaptation of King’s novel.
On a budget of $45 million Doctor Sleep grossed $31.5 million at the US box office and $72.3 million globally when it was released in 2019.