Forty two years ago, Stephen King published "The Shining," which became one of the greatest horror novels of all time. Three years after that, Stanley Kubrick directed the film adaptation, creating what is acclaimed as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. And then another 23 years after that, King wrote "Doctor Sleep," a sequel to his original book, which also became a best-seller.
And now, we have hit yet another milestone in this long journey: the theatrical release of writer/director Mike Flanagan’s film version of DOCTOR SLEEP.
The acclaimed new horror movie, starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and Kyliegh Curran, is hitting theatres this weekend, and anticipation is at an extremely high level. But if you’re on the fence about seeing the new release, allow us to try and convince you with these four reasons you need to see DOCTOR SLEEP ASAP.
It’s a Wonderful Continuation of The Shining
It’s well-known that Stephen King isn’t exactly a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of THE SHINING, feeling that the film didn’t appropriately translate the characters and themes from the page to the screen. But part of what’s so magical about DOCTOR SLEEP is how it's created a kind of harmony between the two parties. Mike Flanagan shows extreme respect in recognizing the aspects of King’s sequel novel that were written specifically to magnify the changes the author disapproved of Kubrick’s movie, and the writer/director does an excellent job bringing the world and characters of the 2013 book to life — while at the same time having the new release fit squarely into the continuity of the 1980 cinematic classic, right down to the iconic production design of the famed Overlook Hotel.
You’ll Be Able to Enjoy It Even Without Seeing The Shining
DOCTOR SLEEP in many way acts as a love letter to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick, but what makes the feature particularly special is the fact that you could actually watch it without ever having seen THE SHINING (though, obviously, it does very much help). Not only does the new film feature enough exposition for newcomers to understand all of the things they need to know, but it also presents a totally different kind of story that audiences will be able to enjoy on a totally independent level. You’ll definitely appreciate DOCTOR SLEEP more if you see its predecessor first, but you’ll still get a kick out of the experience regardless.
The Performances Are Incredible
Part of the reason why Stephen King books have had so much success in Hollywood is because of the impressive way he constructs characters, and there have been many actors who have been able to use that material to generate awesome performances. DOCTOR SLEEP is yet another example of this. Ewan McGregor is phenomenal as the tortured Dan Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who drinks to both repress memories and his psychic/telepathic gifts, and newcomer Kyliegh Curran is a wonderful breakout star playing Abra, a young girl who "shines" even brighter than Dan does. That being said, Rebecca Ferguson is the film’s true showstopper as the villainous Rose the Hat, delivering a turn that ranks alongside Kathy Bates in MISERY, Bill Skarsgård in IT and Clancy Brown in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION as one of the best King movie antagonists ever.
It Will Scratch Your Horror Itch in the Best Way With Some Real Disturbing Stuff
Halloween may be over, but a true horror genre fan never loses their itch to see truly scary movies up on the big screen, and DOCTOR SLEEP most definitely delivers. Most of the film deals in psychological terror, particularly via the demons that constantly haunt Dan Torrance, and the experience doesn’t just settle for minor jumps. This is a release that features one of the most disturbing and upsetting sequences you’ll find in modern mass market horror.
DOCTOR SLEEP arrives in theatres Friday, November 8, and THE SHINING is available to watch on AMC Theatres On Demand.