Did You Sleep On Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep?

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Darius Walters, Staff

Doctor Sleep the move is the sequel to the Stephen King novel and Stanley Kubrick movie The Shiningit is based on the 2013 novel by the name. The film received a generally positive reception and has been applauded by several outlets for its dedication and stylistic continuity of the Kubrick classic. Doctor Sleep is directed by Mike Flannigan stars Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance.  

Doctor Sleep takes place years after the events of The Shining and follows a struggling and lost Danny Torrance as he finds a new purpose as his shining ability is used to fight a greater evil. Danny is faced with a task by his new friend, a preteen girl named Abra, with an especially strong shining ability who attempts to interfere with the True Knot cult’s devious activities in defiance of their intentions with her. 

Over the course of the film, it is clear there is a strong sense of growing tension. The film’s atmosphere is constantly looming with dark set pieces, an ambient soundtrack, and the constant heartbeat replicating sound effect reminiscent of the one in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. These elements complement the tons of interesting set pieces and visual effectsmaking the introduction of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining surreal with a sinister supernatural presence 

The interactions and fights between characters are on the level of a superhero film, especially since many involve a special gift known as the shining. The shining ability is described as the fusion of telepathy and clairvoyance. Having it means one can communicate with others using the mind and gives people the ability to see things that have happened in the past or will happen in the future. In Doctor Sleep, the ability is used to an even broader extent. Characters can teleport themselves spiritually to locations across the country. 

The characters in the movie are very interesting when it comes to their backgrounds and their abilities. The antagonists of the story are the members of the True Knot cult, a band of nomadic psychos with the aforementioned ability who use their gifts to harm people. They feed off the essence (essentially the souls) of children that shine in the form of what they call “steam”. This steam keeps them young, making them semiimmortal. Some of the members have been living for hundreds of years. 

 Abra is a girl who was born with the ability to shine and has a conflict with the True Knot cult when she figures out that they’ve kidnapped children. In defiance of being used by the cult, she uses her abilities to contact Danny Torrance and team up with him to put an end to their evil ways. 

The success of the film critically seems to be an underrated topic as it came out just two months after the less acclaimed Stephen King adaptation It Chapter 2Another classic, Pet Semetary also adapted to the big screen earlier in 2019 with not much critical success. Of course, It was a lot more popular but wasn’t as critically successful as Doctor sleep, yet it seemed to receive a lot more attention from a wide audience. This makes Doctor Sleep seem inferior due to a general lack of overall attention from a wide audience, but it definitely proves itself to be the superior Stephen king’s adaptation of 2019.