Doctor Sleep will Put You to Sleep
by Alex B.
Many people might think that the latest entry in horror, Doctor Sleep, would be a promising predecessor to its counterpart, The Shining, but that’s where they’d be wrong. This convoluted “sequel” to the iconic movie from the ’80s fails to live up to its full potential.
When looking at the trailers for the movie one line that can be easily taken from the trailer itself is “Dare to go back.” However, the movie doesn’t even go to the setting of the hotel until the last twenty minutes. This movie is essentially its own untasteful story with a couple of characters from the original movie in order to provide some nostalgia and lure viewers such as myself to the theatre to view it. The famous scenes from the original movie were clearly thrown in this movie to have an excuse to put them in the trailers. They don’t have any real meaning or purpose at all, just like this movie in its entirety.
The movie follows Danny, from the original movie, when he’s older and what he goes through. It starts off with him being addicted to drugs and getting into bar fights. Clearly, the movie wants us to feel bad for the guy and what he’s struggling with. Then it immediately cuts to this woman named Rose and her gang of misfits who are “undead” and feed off of children’s “shines” (souls) in order to survive. All throughout the movie, it cuts between Rose and her cult’s storyline and Danny’s storyline, and how they eventually get intertwined. The first half of the movie follows Danny going to New Hampshire where he meets a friend who helps him find a place, get a job, and end his addiction. All while Rose and her friends are feeding off of innocent children. Now one might think that’s enough exposition for one movie and it might actually begin to pick up the pace. Maybe it will get scary? Maybe the characters will return to the original hotel? Maybe we could at least get one jumpscare to satisfy the “horror” movie title it claims to be? Nope, only one of those comes into fruition and you’ll have to wait two and a half hours to get there. So far I don’t really know how anyone could tell if this is a horror or just a documentary about serial killers and drug addicts. Then, out of nowhere, with no context whatsoever, a girl named “Abra” is introduced and appears to have supernatural powers just as Danny does. The movie doesn’t explain why it just drops her in as one of the main characters. So she is able to interact with Danny because they have a really strong “shine” or something. They communicate back and forth and Abra can sense what Rose and her crew are up to so she eventually teams up with Danny to stop them. Danny, Danny’s friend, and Abra all team up to confront Rose and her group and bring justice once and for all! Except that really doesn’t happen, Rose’s friends die and Danny’s friend dies as well. Now we are left with the only “important” characters of the movie, the only ones we actually still care about if you haven’t left the theatre already. The final fight is at, you guessed it, the original hotel. But there’s a twist! Nothing’s scary about the hotel this time around and it’s only used as a cheap gag to satisfy the whole “Shining sequel” nonsense they pulled when making this movie.
This movie isn’t scary in the slightest bit. I don’t think jump scares are a very good way of properly scaring someone even though it does provide a little bit of fright to spice up a horror movie every now and again. Most modern movies rely on these cheap jumpscares to provide a “horrific” feel to their movie. I’m personally a big fan of psychological horror movies and feel as if that is the proper way to mess with people. In order for something to be truly scary, your mind has to be involved as well. That being said, Doctor Sleep made me want at least one jump scare so that maybe it could be at least a little scary. But it wasn’t, this movie was very unsettling at times, I’ll give it that much. But I could honestly find more horror right outside the movie theatre in the food court. This movie doesn’t deserve the title of horror and I honestly don’t see how anyone could appreciate it after watching The Shining.
This movie had everything going for it, a good launch off of the original box office hit, a pretty decent cast, and all the excitement they could’ve had with it essentially being a sequel to The Shining. But sadly this movie was constructed in a very poor way. It’s extremely slow to start, there is little to no context given on new characters introduced. Even the characters that are introduced in much depth, such as “Snakebite Andi”, one of Rose’s newest additions, barely matters in the grand scheme of the movie and wouldn’t even be considered a main character. Wasted time in the movie such as this makes me feel as if they were just dragging out certain parts to get up to the specific runtime movies have to get to in order to even be considered a “feature film.” With the slow going plotline and characters that seem very out of place, I didn’t find this to be very likable. Even when I attempted to think of it in the best light possible. There’s little to no fan service from the original movie which was a letdown. Only in the last portion of the movie did the main characters even go to the Outlook Hotel for the final battle. But the ending was extremely anticlimactic and I’ll admit it was pretty cool seeing Danny going back to the hotel for the last time. But as many others have said before, too little too late, not even that little piece of nostalgia was enough to save this movie. Ultimately this film is a hollow corpse of what could have been a great second entry in the universe of The Shining. But sadly failed to provide the necessary film qualities in order to achieve what could have been.