Doctor Sleep (2019)
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and Kyliegh Curran
Is it fair to automatically characterize a film as a hopeless attempt at recapturing the glories of its predecessor? No it’s not. Sometimes the pleasant surprise after our prejudices are upended is eternally rewarding.
That said, for every eternally-rewarding remake, like Blade Runner 2049 (2017), there are ten plus unrewarding shells of an original. Doctor Sleep is one of those.
Oculus (2013) proved that Doctor Sleep Director Mike Flanagan is an excellent filmmaker. And his television creation, The Haunting of Hill House, showed audiences that he could create an interesting story from the ground up. So why attempt a sequel to what may be the greatest horror film of all time?
Two words: Stephen King. It is no secret that King disliked Kubrick’s interpretation of his book. So when the sequel was written in 2013, King wanted an adaptation that was truer to the original intent. Instead, what we got is a jumbled mess of plot that un-rewardingly attempts to straddle nostalgia and progressive signposts. It just didn’t work.
In fact, Doctor Sleep film feels tonally more like a sequel to Twilight than the Shinning. The meandering plot exists simply to transport us back to the Overlook hotel one more time so we can marvel at modern filmmaking as we wander those haunted hallways like Xbox avatars. The third act is a flop and feels more like a TV demo at Best Buy than an artfully realized narrative.
Doctor Sleep is a hopeless attempt to recapture the glories of a masterpiece, and when I walked into the theater that was the last thing I wanted.
If the original Shinning is an A+ and Oculus was a B, then Doctor Sleep is a D.