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Doctor Sleep (2019) movie review

Doctor Sleep (2019) review By Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com The team behind Doctor Sleep had a seemingly insurmountable task ahead of them when they signed on to tackle the source material. How do you make a film about a sequel to one of the horror genres’ biggest film's but also a sequel to its drastically different novel? Furthermore, how do you marry the styles of both Kubrick and King’s one vision successfully? Well, my hat’s off to Director Mike Flanagan and team because they somehow did it. The film version of Doctor Sleep manages to honor the film techniques and style of Kubrick while tapping into the messy heart of King’s writing, all the while somehow having a voice of its own. What I enjoyed, first and foremost, about Doctor Sleep is that it takes its time. It’s not afraid to let an emotional moment sink in and it’s not afraid to draw out a scene to establish its characters. It’s got a Kubrickian feel to it but it’s also undeniably a focus of Flanagan, who tends to delve into the beating heart of his characters. Ewan McGregor as Danny is wonderful. He’s cursed, muted, charming but low-key. It’s pretty much how I envisioned an older Danny would turn out to be. You can really feel the weight behind his eyes throughout. Rebecca Ferguson brings Rose the Hat - a lacklustre villain from the source material to life in a menacing performance that got a few shivers from me. As the villain of the film, she’s a pure joy to watch and chews the scenery. There’s a huge, talented cast here that I could pick apart and write about for days but I want to talk about the charming, badass Kyliegh Curran, who plays Abra Stone, the young girl whose shine puts her on a direct call to the film’s hedonist, quasi-vampiric villains. Curran nails her emotional moments and is a lot of fun to watch when things get...meta-physical, shall we say? There’s actually a lot to unpack about Doctor Sleep here. It’s often visually exciting - in a way I haven’t felt in the cinema for a while - and often unnerving in how it chooses to weave its horror throughout its sequences in a creeping, uncomfortable way. It’s also just rich for the eyes and ears, with its camera work and sound design and sequences that unfold. I will say, though, that it did lose me in its last act. It’s here where Mike Flanagan’s writing seems to be drowned out to appease the work of Kubrick and King, resulting in an extended finale sequence and an ending that I still don’t know where I stand on, only that I don’t feel as strongly about it as the rest of the film. Despite that minor quibble, Doctor Sleep is a thoroughly entertaining piece of work that was a delight to catch in the cinema. While it does have its flaws in the end, it redeems a lot of the novel for me personally and manages to still be a strong sequel worthy of your time.

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