Movie Review: Doctor Sleep (2019)

I just love that header image. My amazing buddy The Craggus took the first poster that was released for this movie and added a little of my shenanigans to it. Anyhow, let’s talk about a belated sequel.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Doctor Sleep”. The director’s cut.

A little over 30 years after the horrifying events at the Overlook hotel, a now grown up Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) tries to get his life back together. While doing this he befriends a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) who also can Shine. But these powers also makes her the target of a dangerous cult that tracks down kids who can Shine, and then kills them and steals their power. So yeah, it’s a little bit of a departure from the claustrophobic thrills of “The Shining”. But that’s okay, because I found the story on display utterly enthralling. It’s a slow, contemplative burn of a narrative. Going in-depth with the effects that the Overlook incident’s had on Dan’s life, the story really gets to the heart of a lot of stuff, and it’s wonderful to follow… even made me cry at a point. But it’s not just heartfelt drama here, as this is also a horror movie. It’s not the scariest one I’ve seen, probably wouldn’t even crack the top five in terms of pure scariness. That’s not to say that there isn’t any creepy shit here. There is some good, subtle creepiness and suspense going on throughout, occasionally punctuated by some decently grim shit. And I think it works quite well here. Again, not the scariest, but I still enjoyed the horror elements of the narrative.

The characters in this are quite nuanced, flawed, and highly interesting. Ewan McGregor plays Dan Torrance, former tricycle enthusiast and currently broken man. Seeing the low point his life has come to after you-know-what is fascinating in itself, but it’s what comes from that that makes it even more interesting, as he has a really great arc in this movie. And McGregor does a great job with his performance. Kyliegh Curran plays Abra, the young girl that Dan befriends. She’s a smart, funny, and charming little kid who I think made for a good foil for Dan. And Curran is fantastic in the role. Next we have Rebecca Ferguson as Rose, a hat wearing lady who loves meeting new people… oh, and she’s also an immortal who kills people who can Shine, just so she can keep being immortal. Yeah, she’s our main villain, and she’s so mesmerizing and intense, with a lot of that coming from Rebecca Ferguson’s spectacular performance. We also get supporting work from people like Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Carl Lumbly, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Greenwood, Jacob Tremblay, Carel Struycken, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by The Newton Brothers, and I thought it was great. It’s an emotionally charged and eerie score that, while taking a lot of familiar horror cues into certain tracks, manages to feel somewhat unique to this movie. They also utilize some familiar notes from the original “Shining” film on occasion, and it never feels overly intrusive, but rather works as a nice tie-in to that. So yeah, there’s some good music here.

Based on the “Shining” sequel of the name name written by Stephen King, “Doctor Sleep” was written and directed by Mike Flanagan, and I think he did a fantastic job with it. His direction is bold, confident, and manages to create a good amount of suspense throughout. There’s something otherworldly about it, which helps add a good amount of eeriness to proceedings. And Michael Fimognari’s cinematography certainly helps add a lot to that, giving us a lot of gorgeous, dynamic shots that add to the atmosphere of the movie. It’s just really well crafted.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

“Doctor Sleep” (director’s cut at least) is a fantastic horror-drama that manages to both entertain and deeply engage. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Doctor Sleep” is a 9.90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Doctor Sleep” is now completed.

Three hours seldom fly by so fast for me.

Movie Review: The Shining (1980)

shining

Stephen King is an interesting author. His bibliography is such a mixed bag of genres and stories that it’s incredible. Now to be honest, the only books by King I have read are his “Dark Tower” books, so I don’t know much about his writing (Sidenote: The “Dark Tower” books are fucking amazing, go read them). I am however interested in what he has to offer. So let’s review a movie that is based on one of his books, but apparently deviates a lot from it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Shining”.

In “The Shining” we follow writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who moves into a hotel with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd) over the winter to get some quiet solitude/inspiration for his writing. But things aren’t as normal as they may seem. Something is strange about this hotel, something that makes Jack lose his mind and begin both verbally and physically attack his family. And I will not say more about the plot because of how excellent it is and it is rather easy to get into spoilers. But what I can say is that the plot of the movie is very well-written, incredibly suspenseful and it messes with your mind at any point it can. The amount of twists and mind-bending plot-points really work for the movie and they all make you doubt your own sanity.

The characters in this movie are pretty interesting. Sure, they are all messed up in some way, but they are at least interesting. Let me also explain why they are all messed up. Jack lost his mind and became violent (he has also hurt his son once), Danny seems to have some strange ability and/or psychological issue. And Wendy is messed up because she is played by Shelley Duvall who looks like she was left in the washing machine for too long. I know, that was mean, but you know it’s true!

This movie uses an interesting mix of songs for it’s soundtrack. It uses both a few original tracks by Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elkind. Then we have a lot of “classic” tracks by a few composers whose names I will not write out here, go search for them. Anyway, all of the tracks used in the movie are great and really help set the creepy and often disturbing mood that the movie has.

This movie was directed by Stanley Kubrick (R.I.P) and it is gorgeous to look at. The shots are some of the best I have ever seen. Sure, “A Clockwork Orange” looked great too, but this movie is just pure eye-candy. I especially love the scenes where the camera continuously follows Danny on his little Tricycle, those scenes are just amazing to look at. They are also pretty impressive considering this movie came out in 1980. But I guess Kubrick was just ahead of his time. This is also one of the few movies that has legitimately scared me… yeah. You see, I don’t easily get scared. Mostly because I don’t consider jumpscares actual scares. I have also not really found any movie that scares me. The only really scary movie I had seen before this was “Requiem For A Dream” and that isn’t even a horror movie.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars and added it to his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #58 on the “Top 250” list.

“The Shining” is one of the few horror movies I actually have enjoyed (and gotten scared by). It has an excellent story, great performances, tense and atmospheric music and some of the most fantastic direction I have ever seen. Time for my final score.  JEFF! WHERE ARE YOU!? *Breaks door*. HEEEERE’S JOHNNY! But seriously, give me the fucking envelope so we can be done with this. Thank you. My final score for “The Shining” is a 9,88/10. IT definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

“The Shining” is now reviewed.

I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m just gonna bash your brains in!