Film of the book: ‘Doctor Sleep’ (2019)

This is a good adaptation of King’s 2013 novel, directed and scripted by Mike Flanagan, although it’s too long (like almost all of King’s books…) and is notably more of a sequel to the film of The Shining than the original book.

It’s about three years since I read Doctor Sleep, so I can’t discuss plot differences in detail. I do know, however, that it’s rather simplified and condensed – which is an advantage, in my opinion. The general idea of the plot is intact. I don’t know if King had any significant involvement with the film, but it’s well-known that he hated Kubrick’s adaptation. Hopefully he felt kinder towards this one, which is truer to the characters.

The story is about Dan Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who is still trying to cope with the events at the Overlook Hotel decades ago. A teenage girl, Abra, contacts him telepathically. She has a very strong power and has sensed the murderous activities of the True Knot, a group of old beings led by Rose the Hat, who prolong their lives by feeding off the ‘shining’ of children. They are going to come after her. She and Dan need a plan to destroy them.

I liked the cast, which includes Ewan McGregor (Dan), Rebecca Ferguson (Rose the Hat) and Kyliegh Curran (Abra). The film was not especially creepy, until the last half hour. It didn’t rival The Shining for scariness. The human stories are warm and well-portrayed, though, and this is something the film does much better than Kubrick’s version which essentially made the characters one-dimensional with little back-story.

In summary, this adaptation of Doctor Sleep is worth seeing at least once. You don’t have to read the book, but you do need to have either read or watched The Shining.

Low-resolution image from Wikipedia.

5 thoughts on “Film of the book: ‘Doctor Sleep’ (2019)”

  1. I thought Rebecca Ferguson was excellent in this! Not a book I’d read I don’t think, but enjoyed the movie 😃

  2. I watched this after watching The Shining a few years ago and quite enjoyed it, although always, always prefer Stephen King’s books. I agree that the film of The Shining was scarier, but the cast of Doctor Sleep were shown with more dimensions.

    1. I have given up reading his books (except for re-reading The Shining again at some point), they are just not to my taste any more. I made an exception for Doctor Sleep as it was a sequel. Yes I believe there are some bad adaptations, IT part 1 and 2 for example.

      1. Taste does change as we read more widely or age.
        I still read everything King writes and find his books almost to be a comfort read, because of how quickly I fall into his world.

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