A Shining Sequel

Daniyal Zahid sees much to appreciate in Doctor Sleep

A Shining Sequel
Over the past couple of months, we’ve been fortunate enough to have discussed some of the highest billed sequels in Hollywood. Including the one that we’ll be dissecting today, the three sequels have all centered around classics. And two of them are adaption of Stephen King novels – including Doctor Sleep which hit cinemas across the world a couple of weeks ago.

It Chapter Two and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil weren’t exactly showered with approbation in this space when we reviewed those two blockbusters. Doctor Sleep had all the ingredients to go in the same direction, perhaps with the unenviable distinction of not quite doing that great at the box office either. But one multi-pronged factor flipped that upside down for us.

Therefore, it is crucial that we put that on the table first and foremost, before we get into the many facets of Doctor Sleep that made it truly epic.

Doctor Sleep the novel is the sequel to perhaps Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Shining. Now King buffs would recall that when the 1977 novel was adapted for the film in 1980 by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, King wasn’t exactly best pleased with what was screened and famously expressed his displeasure over the departures the adaption takes from the original storyline. And yet, both the novel and the film firmly maintain their presence in their respective halls of fame.

Now, Doctor Sleep which was published in 2013, continues its journey from – or finds its roots in – the 1977 masterpiece. Its film adaption had the intriguing task of replicating the book, while at the same time being the sequel to The Shining, the film, given that is how it was billed in the media.

A plot twist, almost as intriguing as the scores that one experiences in the two books and their adaptions, is the fact that Doctor Sleep has been given King’s best blessings and indeed his stamp approval over how ‘true’ the adaption has been this time around.

And yet there is another plot twist, for those familiar with King’s writing and Kubrick’s filmmaking: Doctor Sleep, the film, is carved in the same mould as The Shining, the movie, was.

Hence, going back to the above mentioned disclaimer, Doctor Sleep provides one the unique opportunity to live through a film whose story has Stephen King’s vocal approval and whose depiction might have had the posthumous signature of Stanley Kubrick. And if you’re a fan of either – let alone both – Doctor Sleep makes for a shining sequel.

And if you need another off-screen twist, what the sequel manages to do fairly well is be connected to the original, without either being a replica set in a different time, or something so disjointed that one can’t even find the point of it being linked to the original.

After escaping from the Overlook Hotel all those years ago, young Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is now a grown, alcoholic, man. Danny works as an orderly in a small town hospital along with his friend Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis). There “shining” young Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) gets in touch with Danny, while at the same time luring an evil creature Rose (Rebecca Ferguson) who, along with her cult followers, preys on the children who “shine”.
Doctor Sleep is a unique experience for a specific reason, and might not work if all those jigsaw pieces don’t arrange themselves for you before you head to the cinema

As already underlined Doctor Sleep is a unique experience for a specific reason, and might not work if all those jigsaw pieces don’t arrange themselves for you before you head to the cinema.

If you’re a Kubrick fan who enjoyed his The Shining, then Doctor Sleep would be worth a watch. If you’re a King fan, and you enjoyed Doctor Sleep the novel, you would appreciate the adaption. But if you’re a fan of both, this film was made just for you.