Doctor Sleep – Director’s Cut

Doctor Sleep – Director's Cut

So good.

This near-epic return to the world of The Shining is world-building in the way that all the best sequels are. And ‘sequel’ it clearly is – as both an adaptation of the source novel (which is a sequel to the original novel of The Shining) and in its relationship to Stanley Kubrick’s The ShiningDoctor Sleep is juggling two origins here, and it manages to accommodate then both admirably.

Any follow-up to such a well-loved masterpiece is going to have its work cut out for it, and Doctor Sleep takes the wisest approach by being very much its own thing. That said, the attention to detail in the recreation of original sets, characters and ghosts is constantly impressive. The recasting of Danny, Wendy – and even Jack – Torrance is clever and satisfying. (I wasn’t sure about the Jack Nicholson replacement at first, until I realised it was Henry Thomas! And all was right with the world again.) They aren’t carbon copies, but they aren’t reinterpretations either – they all just slip right into the world of the film. At first I assumed we’d only get glimpses or side views, but I was wrong. Early on, the camera gets right up in young Danny Torrance’s face and it’s a bold statement of confidence that’s wholly justified.

We’re in the grip of a Stephen King renaissance at the moment. It happens sometimes. This is one of the best King adaptations we’ve had in recent years and it deserves to get more mainstream attention in its own right than we gave to ItChapter Two and the Pet Sematary remake combined. The King vibe, and the sense of fear and threat that permeate the film, are palpable. Doctor Sleep is crafted with such expert care. Mike Flanagan is a very special talent.

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