Is the title a reflection on the running time?

Stephen King has well and truly cemented his work into pop culture history. In my opinion, The Shining is a masterpiece and one of his best. When I heard we were getting a sequel to this horror, expectations were obviously high.

As most will know, in The Shining, Danny Torrance and his mother Wendy survived the ghouls that haunted the Overlook Hotel – including Danny’s psychotic father, Jack.

Doctor Sleep sees Danny (Ewan McGregor) as an adult, still possessing his ‘shining’ abilities. Suffering alcoholism (just as his father did) he attends A.A. meetings whilst working at a hospice, where, with his mind-probing skills, he helps the dying come to terms with death before they kick the bucket – thus resulting in his nickname, Doctor Sleep.

Danny also uses his abilities to telepathically talk to Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl who’s struggling to come to terms with her own Shining.

Abra soon picks up on the distressed energies of children being murdered by The True Knot, a group of vampire-esque killers who feed off their victim’s fears. Therefore, Abra and Danny team up to try and put an end to them.

The cult is led by the terrifying and seductive Rose the Hat, played by Rebecca Ferguson – who was phenomenal in this role. It’s a shame that her followers weren’t half as menacing. McGregor and Curran also give fantastic performances throughout, however the central characters proved a little too awkward when paired together. Danny focuses too much on not appearing as though he’s grooming this child, and it took me out of the movie a little more each time this happened.

Making a King adaptation comes with its own pressures. Making a movie that’s also a sequel to a Stanley Kubrick classic… well that’s a whole different ball game. Writer/Director, Mike Flanagan (Oculus and The Haunting of Hill House) is no stranger to horror and he provides us with some genuine scares and visually stunning scenes. Doctor Sleep works best when Flanagan is putting his own stamp on the movie, as opposed to the times this is trying to mimic The Shining.

The result is an uneven film where thankfully the good outweighs the bad and is certainly entertaining enough to not have that running time feel as long as it could have.

ESP Rating 3.5/5

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Running Time: 2hrs 31mins

Written & Directed By: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Rebecca Ferguson, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly

See Doctor Sleep and much more at Showcase Cinema, Peterborough. Visit for the latest up-to-date show times. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

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