Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis
Runtime: 152 minutes
Rating: R (disturbing and violent content, some bloody images, language, nudity, and drug use)
I’ll start this review by letting you know my favorite horror movie of all time is The Shining (1980). From the eerie music, to those creepy twins. The movie gets me. I’ve watched it countless times and was EXTREMELY excited for the long-awaited sequel. I was also excited because the of the director Mike Flanagan and this film’s star Ewan McGregor. You may know McGregor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels or Moulin Rouge (Great actor.) Flanagan has been churning out quality horror films lately and I thought the pairing would be perfect. We will see.
Onto the film.
We open in Florida in the 80s. A young girl named Violet approaches a woman in a hat. She’s known as Rose the Hat (Ferguson) she’s a part of a group called the True Knot and they go after children that have “the shining” (a psychic ability) They feed off them for their power to keep the group alive. We then cut to the iconic carpet and see a young Danny Torrance riding his tricycle through the halls of the Overlook Hotel. No creepy twins yet. This is a flashback. We see some time has passed since the traumatic events of the Overlook Hotel and Danny and his mother Wendy are still struggling with flashbacks from their time there. We see Danny talking to old Dick Hallorann (Lumbly) an ally from the first film. He tells him how to build a box in his mind and put the ghosts who frighten him in it. Locking them away.
We cut to New Jersey years later. Torrance (McGregor) spends his time chasing woman and drinking. He gets in bar fights and his life has went to disarray. He is still traumatized from his childhood and has no goals in life. He lives this life to suppress his “shining.” He moves and joins AA and meets a man named Billy (Curtis) and eventually gets a job working in hospice. With the help of a cat he can sense when patients are about to pass and helps them ease their time before they go. Doing this he gets the name “Doctor Sleep.” Things seem to be turning around for Danny. He then starts to experience telepathic messages from a young girl named Abra (Curran) she has the “shining” like him and needs his help.
The True Knot group led my Rose the Hat (Ferguson) is after Abra and the hunt is on. The film picks up here. I don’t want to give anymore of the plot but there were COUNTLESS throwbacks to the first film. This worked seamlessly blending the 1980s The Shining with 2019s Doctor Sleep. The eerie music is there. Tension is throughout. What I truly like about horror films like these are there really aren’t jump scares. You just feel uncomfortable throughout. That probably doesn’t sound like a fun time, but it is a horror movie after all. Several times in this film, I was shaking my head saying “NOPE!” I’m not saying horror films with jump scares are bad, but this is a different type of film. You may or may not sleep with the lights on after seeing this.
This film isn’t perfect. I felt towards the end, it tried too hard to tie back into The Shining. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it took me out of the film for a moment. I both loved and hated where the film takes us and after viewing this, you’ll know what I mean. I thought the cast was excellent and the script shined (no pun intended) as well. I will warn you. This film is a long one. The pacing was overall good, but it did drag in a few scenes. Regardless, if you’re a fan of the classic The Shining (“HEEEERE’S JOHNNY!” Jack Nicholson is FANTASTIC in it) go see this film. If you’re a fan of Ewan McGregor and the director Mike Flanagan I also encourage you to give it a shot. I know I said no horror movies for a while, but this one was the exception. 4 ½ stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158