“Doctor Sleep” uses its predecessor movie as a platform for original storytelling, not a nostalgic crutch.
Stanley Kubrik’s “The Shining” made its mark with horror fans decades ago, and 39 years later the haunting story of the Torrence family is reprised.
“Doctor Sleep”, directed by Mike Flanagan, focuses on Danny Torrence, the son who survived his father’s murderous rampage at the Overlook Hotel. As an adult, Dan struggles with his supernatural ability that he calls the “shine”. While the 1980 film was named after Dan’s powers, much of the original film revolves around his parents. However, “Doctor Sleep” specifically deals with what “shining” really is.
While “Doctor Sleep” is clearly a sequel to “The Shining”, it puts an original spin on a cherished movie franchise. Dan is an alcoholic, running away from the nightmarish memories of his childhood. Instead of relying on the plot of the original film to carry Dan’s adult life, in which he could possibly follow in the footsteps of his father or reopen the Overlook Hotel, “Doctor Sleep” takes a deeper look at what makes Dan special. A creative, new plot is explored in which a cult desires to extract people’s “shine” in hopes that it will make them immortal. This sets Dan, and others like him, on a gruelling journey to stop them.
Though the majority of the movie creates its own immersive story, “Doctor Sleep” does include specific nods to the original: viewers are taken back to the Overlook Hotel, and that is where the nostalgia truly begins. Iconic characters from “The Shining” are played by look-alike actors to recreate famous scenes from the original movie and add new memories to Dan’s ever-horrifying recollection of the hotel.
As “The Shining” is one of the most famous horror movies of all time, it would be unfair to compare it to its sequel; however, “Doctor Sleep” does an impressive job in continuing Dan Torrence’s character while also adding a new and inventive plotline.