Doctor Sleep (2019)

This sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s legendary horror classic “The Shining” doesn’t ever fully come alive, but thanks to director Mike Flanagan’s first-rate directorial work, it has a number of effective sequences that manage to tie together the overstuffed narrative as best as possible. The main problem here is Stephen King’s underwhelming source novel, which trades the original’s ghostly atmosphere in favor of metaphysical gobbledygook and alters the tone from horror to fantasy in the process. Additionally, it’s overpopulated by extraneous characters, which impacts the movie’s narrative as well: Had Flanagan’s screenplay streamlined some of the less relevant characters and plot developments, he could have delivered a strong sequel with a sensible running time and palpable dramatic tension but as it is, it feels rushed and vaguely anticlimactic. Ewan McGregor does the best he can as Danny Torrance and main villain Rebecca Ferguson radiates malevolence but both are short-shrifted by Flanagan’s distracted screenplay, although luckily supporting players Cliff Curtis and (especially) Kyliegh Curran bring some spark that’s otherwise missing. The Overlook Hotel makes a convincing, satisfying climactic return and Alex Essoe delivers a nifty impersonation of Shelley Duvall’s Wendy in flashback sequences, but I can’t help but feel like the movie should have been much better.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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