my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Doctor Sleep
Director:   Mike Flanagan
Year:   2019
Genre:   Horror
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   10.24.21

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- Oculus

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
10.24.21Internet I originally gave this a pass because my lasting memories of the book are pretty mixed and I thought the trailer was pretty dogshit. But more than a couple people since then remarked that this was surprisingly good and I was a bit taken by Rebecca Ferguson in Dune so I thought I should give it a chance. Little did I know that the film was 3 hours long... longer than Dune! Ok, that's a tad bit unfair. While I didn't know while watching, what I actually saw was a director's cut that put 30 extra minutes into the film, which still means the theatrical cut was two and a half hours long! It's like some epic of supernatural thrillers or something.

So... the movie adapts very closely to my memory of the book with one big notable exception (the ending). And I guess that's the correct way to even try adapting this into a movie, because the book has the luxury of being able to skip all over the place and not care about pacing or structure at all. Bringing that meandering plot into the movie is what made it three hours long but also what made it make sense without completely abandoning the story of the book.

Before I talk about spoilers, I kind of want to say I liked this more than the book? I think some things just didn't work in my head when I read the book, and definitely were not scary whereas seeing them on the screen intensifies some things and makes them more visceral.

The rest is spoilers.

So the big difference is that Flanagan chose to bring in Kubrick's changes and make this a sequel to the Kubrick film (vs. the 90s mini-series which is more faithfully adapted from the original book) which I think is 1000% the correct choice. For me, I felt a tiny bit of agenda with Stephen King writing Doctor Sleep in bringing his book back to people's minds, but as a film fan as well as a Stephen King fan I think that Kubrick's film is better than the book. Jack Nicholson may go crazy way too soon, and the movie may skip over plot details about the hotel's history and what's really going on there, but in doing so he made a horror classic for all time. And what really works in the movie (which the book does not have) is all the references and recreations connecting Danny Torrance's childhood to where he is now. And since the hotel didn't blow up in the movie, they get to go back to it and relish in revisiting all that iconic imagery. In the book, if I remember correctly, the site of the hotel is where the True Knot hang out and bring Danny back to at the end, but the movie gets to turn the tables and almost weaponize the power of the hotel to Danny's advantage. I think it's a really elegant and clean way to show Danny finally facing his fears by being the one who decides to return there. The power of the book and the movie is seeing these evil antagonists outmatched by this more powerful kid, so by the time we see the hotel in the movie it's almost like getting the band back together or something, because you know Danny and Abra are going to somehow use it to their advantage and Rose the Hat doesn't know what she's walking into.

And you know... seeing the set recreations and how meticulously they re-created the look and feel of the hedge maze and various parts of the hotel hits you right in the pleasure center. And in a way that feels more earned than what they did in Ready Player One.

So in that regard, I think I liked this more than the book. It's still not perfect or anything, but actually quite good and certainly much better than the trailers show it to be. I'm glad I saw this.