Dr. Sleep Review: Spoilers Ahead

How does Dr. Sleep compare to The Shining?

Alexis Smith , Writer


Walking into theater number four at Movie Palace, I was a bit skeptical that Dr. Sleep would actually be any good. I had watched the well-known Shining movie a few years back and it didn’t give me the thrill I had expected from such a world renowned horror movie. It was extremely anticlimactic and confusing. 

From watching the trailer, I discovered that Dr. Sleep was a sequel to The Shining. It follows the boy, Danny, as an adult years after his father, played by Jack Nicholson, tries to murder him and his mother. Danny’s father had become possessed by the angry spirits of the Overlook Hotel, sending him into a killing rampage. 

The opening scene shows Danny a few months after the incident and the poor kid is traumatized. He hasn’t spoken since he left the hotel. The ghosts that possessed the Overlook Hotel follow him wherever he goes and he doesn’t know how to get rid of them. A ghost named Dick Hollaran, a former employee at the Overlook who was murdered by Jack, tells Danny that a way to make the ghosts disappear is to make a box in his mind, and with the power of his “shine,” he can transport the ghosts in the boxes. 

Danny goes home and decides to try it on a demon-woman that lives in his bathtub. After he is successful, he starts feeling better and begins talking to his mother again. 

The movie fastforwards twenty to thirty years later and Danny has gone downhill as an adult. He’s into drugs — mainly cocaine — and drinks his body weight in the first few minutes of the scene. He also gets into bar fights and wakes up with unknown women in unknown places due to his bad habits. 

Great start right? 

Over the next few years, he cleans up his act with the help of a new friend, Billy Freeman, who once struggled with addiction as well. Billy even helps Danny get a job at the local nursing home, where Danny sometimes uses his shine to tell the elderly people that they shouldn’t be afraid to die. 

During his time at the nursing home, a little girl named Abra realizes she has the shine (which she called magic) and figures out how to use it. At five years old she managed to levitate all the silverware in her house to the ceiling, shouting “Abracadabra,” as they fell down. She uses her shine to talk to Danny by writing on a blackboard wall in his apartment. 

One night when Abra tries to talk to Danny, she picks up on a distress signal. It’s from a little boy who has been kidnapped by a group of people who feed from the shine of others to “live forever.” The boy apparently has the shine and they tracked him down so they could take it. 

They tie the boy up, telling him that they are going to hurt him. According to the group’s leader, Rose, fear makes the shine more pure. They torture the boy, allowing shine to ooze out of his mouth in a mist-like state, while a terrified Abra watches on. She screams for them to stop, catching the group’s attention. 

Abra immediately informs Danny about the murder by cracking his chalkboard into the famous word, “Redrum.” When the shine is gone and the boy is dead, the group realizes that they have a new target: Abra. 

The rest of the movie is centered around Danny trying to protect Abra from being killed and kidnapped. 

Overall, I thought it was really good. Dr. Sleep really threw my expectations out of the water with it’s realistic special effects and intriguing story line. There are tons of Shining references for the horror movie fanatics, and Abra and Danny even take a trip back to the infamous Overlook Hotel in a final battle for Abra’s life. 

As I said before, I didn’t think it was worth an eight-dollar movie ticket, but looking back, I’m glad I spent the money on a movie that was worth watching.