Doctor Sleep left me wildly confused, rather than utterly terrified


Almost everyone has heard of or seen the iconic movie, The Shining

It portrays the strange and horrific occurrences that happen while the Torrance family resides in the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. As time progresses, the father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes downright mad and has a strong urge to terrorize his family.

While heavily walking with a zombie-like appearance around the hotel with a blunt axe and intentions to kill, his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his sweet, little son Danny (Danny Lloyd) somehow manage to escape their deadly doom. At the end of the battle between the three, Jack ends up dying at the hotel.

In the disturbing—and at times gory—new movie, based on Stephen King’s renowned book, Doctor Sleep picks up where The Shining left off.

However, sweet little Danny is no longer sweet little Danny.

At the beginning of the movie, Danny is portrayed as a lonely, alcoholic, middle-aged train wreck that is struggling to find happiness. It is not until he finds his one true friend, Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis), that he begins to find his way again.

This older Danny, played by actor Ewan McGregor, still seems—even after years of visiting the hotel—to find the same demons haunting him. However, in this movie, he is not alone. There is now an entirely new cast of people who have the same powers that Danny has. The only difference is that many of them use their powers for evil.

One of these people is the leader of an appalling cult called the True Knot, that uses its powers to harm others instead of help.

Though this may seem like a largely intriguing and exciting new twist for the movie, it was quite puzzling, and at times very frustrating.

For around half of the movie, horrific events that the True Knots caused were incorporated. What was so puzzling was the lack of reason as to why they performed these heinous crimes. There also was never a real introduction as to who they were; it was almost as if it was left up to the viewer to figure it out.

What I also found to be quite puzzling was the choppy scene around the beginning of the movie when they first introduced Abra Stone (Kyleigh Curran) who is one of the few who shares similar powers to Danny’s. 

Her parents enter the kitchen to see every spoon they own stuck to the ceiling. Right after Abra walks in, and after only one sentence is spoken, the spoons fall to the floor. 

The continuity stopped there.

The viewer doesn’t see Abra for quite a while after this incident, and when they do, she is eight years older. 

This type of choppy storyline led me to be quite impatient.

It seemed almost as though the plot was a gigantic puzzle whose pieces would come together at some point, yet it was hard to tell when and in what way.

Once the pieces fell into place, however, the plot was quite engaging, and it kept me entertained for the remainder of the movie.

However, after all of these confusing scenes were over, the plot began to thicken.

It seems almost out of nowhere that more and more is happening within the plot, and the viewer is quickly absorbed into the occurrences that are happening on the screen.

What deserves much credit, however, are the stunning actors that were a part of making this film. The one in particular that stood out to me was Rebecca Ferguson who played Rose the Hat—the leader of the True Knot.

She had to perform many scenes within the movie that required much emotion and fury, and it was quite clear that she gave her all in each of those moments. 

The same can be said for all of the other characters in the movie, as well. 

Sometimes while watching a film, some actors stand out as being better than others; this was not the case in Doctor Sleep. Each actor in the movie clearly understood the emotion that they had to feel in the scenes they were in. At no point, while watching the movie did I think that the actors were average or less. They were all very professional and highly-trained, which—especially for a sequel of such a renowned movie—I felt was expected.

Though quite a puzzle in the beginning, the movie kept me wanting to know more, and the way it was put together in the end left me quite surprised by how good it felt to be so confused.