- Gareth Crook
Doctor Sleep (2019)
So this is a stupid idea surely? A sequel to The Shining. I know the book existed, but that doesn’t mean we need the film. It is lovely to be back in the Overlook Hotel though, even if much of the opening scenes steal directly from the iconic original. It’s a little off putting though, like a recap montage at the beginning of a serialised drama. What’s more annoying is Alex Essoe’s attempt at impersonating Shelley Duvall. It’s well documented what Kubrick put Duvall through to get that performance, to even attempt what Essoe does is insulting. I’ll the curb the criticism though for a minute, for what follows does have a little merit. We pick up with an adult Danny Torrance, played by Ewan McGregor revisiting his junkie screw-up days of Trainspotting, but with a beard and without the cool soundtrack. He now finds himself out in the world with many others who Shine and they’re not all as nice as Scatman Crothers. I guess that’s an inevitable story progression and that’s a good word to summarise this, inevitability, but it does still have lots of suitably creepy moments. It lacks style though, with its bloated cast of characters, but McGregor does a decent job as he begins to find purpose, meaning, stability and how to be the good guy. It seems a little sad that this film puts a purpose to Shining, boiling it down to good vs evil, simplifying it, lifting its mystique and painting it as some sort of vampiric zombie derivative. Maybe that’s all it ever was, but Kubrick’s film had subtlety. This borrows so much, but doesn’t repay it and I’m genuinely disgusted as the final act begins to unfold. The phrase ‘Don’t mess with the classics’ was clearly never considered. Yet despite all this, I found this oddly enjoyable to a point, sacrilegious as it is. It’s fun in places, but not really enough to make up for its lack of originality and I mean complete and utterly devoid of originality. Granted I suppose it’s supposed to be a sequel and therefore should be allowed these assets to play with, but I was left shaking my head, rolling my eyes and laughing at the laziness. I was right, stupid idea.