‘Doctor Sleep’ fails to live up to ‘The Shining’

Katherine Daily, Staff Writer

The latest attempt at a Stephen King adaptation, “Doctor Sleep,” released in theaters on Nov. 8 and, unfortunately, came up short. It amounted to a basic sequel to Kubrick’s “The Shining” that no one really asked for.

It was not as if it was not well-crafted or well-presented. That being said, the musical score leaves something to be desired as it distracts viewers from the storytelling. Additionally, the astral projection and mental health scenes are clearly pulled right from King’s novel, which puts it at a disadvantage because it comes off painfully clunky and slow.

The plot follows Danny Torrance, the kid who once biked through the halls of the Overlook Hotel, banging into those disturbing twins in their party dresses and the naked old woman rotting in her bathtub. In “Doctor Sleep,” he is no longer a little boy.

Danny, played by Ewan McGregor, now goes by Dan and is a 30-something year old man who tries drowning away his haunted sorrows in booze, drugs and sex. He is homeless until he ends up at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He finds a new purpose in life by helping his community.

All that is threatened when an evil cult sets its eyes on a little girl named Abra Stone, played by Kyliegh Curran, who is also gifted with the shining. This rouses Danny from his self-imposed exile with hope that he can save her from all that haunts him.

The performances hold this film together with standout moments from McGregor, Curran and Rebecca Ferguson in the role of Rose the Hat. What stands out about their performances is that the actors recast in the original roles look and move identically to their predecessors. They are equally well-casted and do not take away from the original roles. This is especially true of Carl Lumbly’s performance as Dick Hallorann; he perfectly captures Scatman Crothers’ warmth and wisdom from the original film.

There were a lot of details and characterizations that were full and rich given the source material. It was not difficult to understand where everyone was coming from, but many of these elements get lost when translated to film. Yet, it is also very easy to get invested and find the film enjoyable. “Doctor Sleep” is a fun watch, but not as good as the original “The Shining” with its long-paced story and its quick resolution.