Stephen King is on a role this year with two stories turned to movies, among other products, and potentially raking in even more cash. The age of taking author’s works and putting visual spins on them continues to thrive and sometimes we get an interpretation that brings our nightmares/expectations to life. On the other hand, the limitations of movies can sometimes lead to bad projects that are disappointing more than anything. What will happen in this interpretation? Well I’m here to share my opinions to help you get the most out of your movie going experience. Let’s get started as I review:
Movie: Doctor Sleep
- Feels Like A Visual Form Of Book
- Nice Haunting Atmosphere
- Pacing For The Most Part is Good
- Great Antagonists
- Fantastic References To original/With modern twists
- Story Telling As a Whole
- The Run Time
- Expecting More Integration of Shining’s connections
- Not Scary
- Graphic Violence That is Haunting But Disturbing
When the revealed the cast of this film I was interested in seeing how they would adapt into King’s Universe. The result is positive for me with the three main characters really taking a shine to the multi-layered characters each contributing to the terror in some way. McGregor takes much of the lifting in his evolution of tortured spirit, keeping that quiet intensity famous of his younger counterpart, but somehow pulling out other tricks when the time is right to give a psychiatrically tortured counterpart. As for the antagonist, Rebecca Ferguson is wonderful counterpart to McGregor, keeping that same creepy tone, but this time bringing a savage/psychotic edge that fits well in the horror genre, think villains from Walking Dead before it went too far. As for the talents of Curran, well she was the perfect balance that sort of inherited both sides of the Shining coin, executing her vulnerable side well, but also managing to bring girl power to an even medium.
Acting aside, the rest of the movie thrives in the element of bring King’s imagination to life. To be honest it does feel like a visualization of the book, the intricate details, outlines story, and connecting points a wonderful example of the art of literature translation. King’s words always paint a picture of sheer horror, immersing one into a nightmare realm that goes into the darkest corners of the minds and dreams. Doctor Sleep’s haunting chills line just about every minute of this film, bringing with it characters that fit into it, primarily the antagonists that Danny faces. Such fitting characters and truly nightmarish villains make a wonderful centerpiece to get hooked onto. Yet, the movie does not just focus on making the characters the star, instead finding way to integrate the Shining into the film while sticking to the originality of the tale. Seeing various nods back to the original tale, though with modern face lifts, and having them there to support the tale, again getting an applause from me. With such details, you might think the pacing will suffer, but Flanagan accomplished the task of keeping all these details and plot dynamics balanced, but not sacrificing the entertainment value that movies are expected. In conclusion to this like section, the story telling is told well at an engaging pace that makes for one of the better horror movies and book translations in a long while.
Yet for me, it’s rare to see a perfect movie that I love everything about and this was true for Doctor Sleep as well. For one thing the run time is a little long for a later night showing, I know my fault, but despite how well the balance of this tale is, there was some pacing that made the 2.5 hours a little too long for me. Perhaps it was from working a 15-hour day, or maybe it’s due to wanting a little more of the Shining’s plot components brought in, given how long the opening was about the time lapse between the two stories I might have wanted a little more integration into the mix to help fully get my horror element on. In addition, the movie did not do the most in the scare factor for me, going more down the drama/thriller category than the actual horror element. I’m not saying others will not get scared, but it all depends on what you like to jump at creeps vs jump scares. For me though, the aspect I know was needed, but I did not like is the torturing and graphic violence components. I can say I like action movies and over the top stunts, but in this movie the violence is all about inducing the disturbing, skin crawling factors that these books are famous for. Weak constitutions to graphic displays of fear inducing dismantling need to rethink diving into this, for there are several scenes where this factor comes into full swing with little mercy.
I have to agree with my friends who saw the film, Doctor Sleep is one of the better novel interpretations that I have seen in quite a while. My favorite aspects of this film are how much like a book it plays out, yet never sacrifices the entertainment factors and visualization components that films need. A haunting atmosphere to play in, with great characters to bring out the solid story, I feel many King and horror films will be impressed with the presentation of this tale. While the run time is a little longer than expected, and the scares are at a minimum compared to the first film I watched a long time ago, the true component to warn people about is the graphic violence/torture that may haunt your memories for some time. It’s true I would have liked a little more of the Shining aspect, but overall a solid story telling from King and company again. Is it worth a trip to the theater? Absolutely, as it has theater quality effects and good storytelling for most audience members to enjoy.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0