Doctor Sleep is the continuation of the story of The Shining. Stephen King, the author of embassies, published it in 2013 with immediate sales success. It was a matter of time before its film version was made, since the 1980 film by Stanley Kubrick, which adapted The Shining, is today a cult movie although at the time it has been reviled by the King himself.
Mike Flanagan, a horror film expert who has directed films such as Ouija: The Origin of Evil and the series The Haunting of Hill House, was responsible for the realization of Doctor Sleep, making a lot of references to Kubrick's movie, even recreating scenes and bringing back old characters such as the Overlook Hotel itself where the first film takes place, although without Kubrick's mastery and ignoring the psychological weight that accentuates the paranormal.
Doctor Sleep follows Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), who was the boy that records the lonely and dark corridors of the Overlook in The Shining on his tricycle. At present, Dan is an unemployed, alcoholic, irascible and dysfunctional adult who only seeks to locate himself in order to overcome his problems that are largely due to the traumatic episode of his childhood but also to the "glow", that is, his psychic ability that allows him to see and contact the spirits of the dead.
Established in a small town in New Hampshire and with the help of his godfather (Cliff Curtis) in Alcoholics Anonymous, Dan manages to remain sober and settled there, even working in a small hospital that serves older adults. Thanks to his radiance, he manages to comfort those who are in the prelude to death, so he earned the nickname of Doctor Sleep.
It is at this stage when Dan is telepathically contacted by Abra (Kyleigh Curran), a girl who also has the glow and is obsessed with cases of disappearance of children. We soon know that these are due to a band of a species of vampires that feeds on the essence of children who share the powers of Abra and Dan and are located by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), with not very strong psychic powers but well dominated that will soon put behind the track of Abra.
In spite of some quite well-executed moments, such as that scene of the sacrifice in the surroundings of an abandoned factory or that of the super aisles, Doctor Sleep is unnecessarily lengthened because Flanagan fails to combine the elements from the 1980 film with the new ones. With uncharacteristic characters, which are only a filler that lengthens the plot, such as Grandpa Flick (Carel Struycken), without their appearance or disappearance becoming transcendent, the film advances with difficulty.
And although Ferguson has an overwhelming screen presence, some of his frankly puerile reactions, such as those sitting on the awning of one of the motor homes where his group moves or in that other where he discovers the location of the girl open in full psychic combat. But that is obviously not your responsibility as it is Flanagan, who does not put accents either in suspense or in terror or in empathy or in any element that engages.
And although Ewan McGregor makes a convincing interpretation of a damaged guy who slowly emerges from the shadows, that's not enough. Kyleigh Curran is far from giving him the necessary support and in fact, the chemistry between them is not the most convincing.
And even though Ferguson has been conventional of the evil of his character, it seems that the director is not so much of himself. Perhaps overwhelmed by the weight of The Shining, he tried to convince us that he was doing something totally different than the Kubrick movie reference but forgot to put his stamp on it if that is what he has.
With persecutions directed on autopilot and a terror that does not scare or surprise, Doctor Sleep falls short of the expectations raised, which it did not generate because it is a film based on a novel by Stephen King, a prolifically mediocre author that part of some interesting ideas, but for references to the Kubrick movie.