I’m just going to start out by saying that Doctor Sleep was great! It’s thrilling, surprising, and beautifully tells the continuation of The Shining with a few Easter eggs hidden inside. This is not a horror movie. If you’re watching the movie expecting to be scared, this one will not do that for you. Instead, it keeps you at the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next.
What Happened to Danny?
The movie tells the story of Danny Torrance 40+ years later after he escapes from The Overlook Hotel and his homicidal father. During his adult life, in an attempt to suppress his shining and numb all pain in general, he spends life as an alcoholic moving from one location to another. When he stumbles into a small New Hampshire town called Frazier, he makes a new friend who introduces him to AA and gets clean. He then gets a job at a hospice where he uses his gift to help terminally ill patients move on in peace. This is how he gets the name, Doctor Sleep.
What’s great about this movie is that we are introduced to other “gifted” individuals such as a young girl named Abra. She posses a powerful shine that practically exceeds Danny’s. Abra first communicates with Dan through psychic communication but later on meets him in person. She discovered a gang, called The True Knot, who are a group of almost immortal leeches that feed off the energy given off by gifted children. To obtain this energy, they torture their victims because only through pain and fear can this energy, in the form of steam, be released. This gang is led by Rose the Hat, who can feel Abra’s energy from miles away and realizes that she and her group will live even longer by consuming her steam. Danny and Abra must work together to stop this gang of shine eaters and prevent them from ending Abra. Of course, you can imagine how hard this is for Dan. He’s spent his life battling with ghosts and using alcohol to forget them. The thought of going back and confronting more demons is the last thing he wants to do. Fortunately, a visit from his friendly neighborhood ghost, Dick Hallorann, convinces him to help Abra.
Themes and Story
Dan’s and Abra’s different personalities play a big role in telling the story and enhancing the movie’s themes. Danny’s first experience with the ghosts has been nothing but violent. It destroyed his home, his family and his childhood. These things have haunted him all his life. Abra, on the other hand, has not been through the same struggles as Dan. She grew up in a loving home with her mother and father, not knowing the dangers that lurk out there. So it’s no surprise when we see that Abra shows nothing but curiosity and bravery when first introduced to these ghosts and other supernatural beings. The relationship between Dan and Abra is mirrored to the relationship Dan had with Dick.
Doctor Sleep is not The Shining and it doesn’t need to be. It’s not a scare-your-pants-off type of movie but the use of sound and video effects will keep you immersed in the dark adventure. The movie plays with past and present events and does a great job of acknowledging moments within The Shining while still being a film of its own. This is the type of movie that you won’t sleep through or, dare I say, lose steam!