Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis
Rotten Tomatoes: 77 percent (Critics), 89 percent (Audience)
khalScore: Three-and-a-half empty bottles of Whiskey
Premise: This kid who can see shit that happens before it happens turned into a grown-ass man who can see shit that happens before it happens. He befriends a little girl who can see shit that happens before it happens, and they do battle against some mystical queen. Somehow this all ends up back at The Overlook.
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime and HBO Max
I know what you're thinking: "Hopefully this fool isn't just talking about this film and The Shining because he just watched it." Sorry, it's that type of party, but only because of how dedicated Mike Flanagan is in maintaining the spirit of The Shining. I remember going to the Screening Room at the Bryant Park Hotel (remember going to see movies with other people?). When the theme from the first film hit and we got those LONG ASS SHOTS of water and mountains and things surrounding The Overlook, I remember grinning. I hadn't realized how much I loved the universe Kubrick created until I got to revisit it as an adult. That said, I wish more of you checked this film out; it quietly hit theaters on November 8 of 2019, and in the shadow of whatever Joker was doing at that point, it felt like Doctor Sleep came and went. It was only right that, if I'm to do this horror movie marathon properly, I have to give Doctor Sleep a whirl, one day removed from rewatching The Shining. I'm not sure if the three-hour-and-one-minute Director's Cut (which adds roughly 30 minutes to Doctor Sleep's runtime) was the move for a random Friday morning, but I'd heard that the Director's Cut was the best way to watch the film, so let's dive in.
Now, ya'll know damn well you didn't have to do that to Violet (who was played by Violet McGraw, aka Young Nell from Flanagan's Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House). Also, with everyone catching their shower ghost lackin', I'm kind of surprised all of the bathroom ghost play in this film hasn't blown up. And how come, when all the wild shit starts going down, it happens in Jersey? And how much did Jacob Tremblay want to play Baseball Boy? What a quick check for such a horrific scene!
I will say: watching the Director's Cut isn't essential to the film. If we're keeping it a buck, at 152 minutes, the original film is already a heavy lift. What's important is the additions we're given to the backstory of Abra as a child interacting with her parents. There's a lot of great stuff tucked into these new scenes that made this viewing experience much more satisfying, especially when you look at this as more of a companion piece to The Shining as opposed to merely being a sequel. Maybe that's why I appreciate it more; instead of just retreading those steps, there's a real connection between this film and the first; while not nearly as terrifying as The Shining, this film is for those of you who love what Kubrick did to the source material and want to get lost in The Overlook once again. —khal