Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Doctor Sleep (2019, Mike Flanagan)

Oh how I wished I had seen Doctor Sleep in theaters when theaters were still a thing. The run time probably was a reason I didn’t go, plus it was released too late for horror movie season-November is usually when I move on to Oscar flicks. Still I found the theatrical cut on Blu-ray at my local library, and I loved it a lot. This is how you do a long overdue followup to a classic movie: pay homage, yet offer a new, mostly fresh story that builds on the previous efforts.

The cast sure helps a lot, too: Ewan McGregor was an excellent choice to play a grown up, still haunted Danny, who manages to overcome the lingering demons of his past. Does the creepy old lady and the eerie bartender show up? You betcha. Kyliegh Curran is another prime example of how child actors are no longer a hindrance to movies anymore, playing Abra, who also has the “Shine.” I loved Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat, simply because she disappeared into her role and reminded me of an evil cat mixed with a shark. Also quality character actor Cliff Curtis pops up as Billy, a man who helps Danny-he never gets enough credit these days.

I did like how they smartly re-casted some of the characters from the original, who pop up. Particularly Carl Lumbly, who does a great job channeling Dick Hallorann from the 1980 flick. Oh and Zahn McClarnon was properly menacing as one of the members of the group that is after Abra. I liked how you only got hints and glimpses at them, so that they remained freaky and not overexposed. Too much detail sometimes ruins things.

I wonder if the director’s cut changes some things or adds more to the movie. I will have to get my hands on that copy. For now I am very satisfied with Doctor Sleep, and I actually prefer it over The Shining, which I also love of course. Doctor Sleep covers tragedy and trauma, offering hope that one can overcome the demons of the past. Also grateful the bear suit scene didn’t make a comeback haha. Oh hey the elevator is still full of blood…

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