It is widely known that Stephen King dismissed Stanley Kubrick’s loose interpretation of The Shining, and yet the legacy of both masterminds seeps into this sprawling sequel.
Danny Torrence (Ewan McGregor) is now a fortysomething washout trying to drown away his haunted-hotel PTSD in booze, sex, and bathroom brawls. A sympathetic AA sponsor steers him to a job at a hospice where he uses his ‘shine’ ability to ease patients gently into that good night. He’s not alone in his abilities, though, as a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) is coming into her own and crossing psychic paths with a roving band of vampiric goons, led by Rebecca Ferguson, who feed off those with the shine.
Because of the lasting impact of movie Shining, writer/director Mike Flannagan had the unenviable task of acknowledging both camps; making a faithful adaptation of Doctor Sleep (King’s 2013 novel) and a worthy sequel to Kubrick’s classic. It is with great relief, then, that he has, for the most part, succeeded. Though it doesn’t use any footage from The Shining, it does recreate the walls of the Overlook Hotel to haunting perfection, therefore preserving the (un)holy chalice of horror-cinema. (Jack Whiting)