As well as the fact that most of the more interesting fare just doesn’t get the space on the big screen that it should, amongst a depressing slew of pedestrian superhero movies, a number of films have one version made for the big screen, but are holding something back for the home version. Ideally, you’d get everything on the biggest screen possible, but Hollywood has forgotten that the big screen is what it’s all about, and that the bean counters want to double-dip from your pocket with both the cinema and the home version.
I love the original The Shining, which also went the same way (although in 1980, I was way too young to watch this in the cinema, so have only seen it at home).
Doctor Sleep is told in chapters (in the Director’s Cut, at least), which certainly helps set the scene when a film is running for three hours in length, and begins in 1980 with leader of a cult of psychic vampires known as the True Knot, Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson – Mission Impossible: Fallout) rather impressing herself upon a young girl called Violet, who then disappears…
I don’t want to say too much in terms of the plot, and certainly no more than I saw from the trailer, but the film first recreates Danny travelling round the hotel on his trike, seeing Room 237, and then the old woman in the bath, who somehow even made an appearance in the 12-certificate and incredibly lazy Ready Player One. Plus, later on, there’s a lot of ‘borrowing’ from the original that made me wonder why not just break completely from it and tell your own story? Have you got nothing else to give?
At the 17 minute mark, things move on to New Jersey, 2011, before eventually moving on to the present day. Now known as Dan, instead of Danny, Ewan McGregor takes the lead as the now grown-up and functioning alcoholic who starts to get that ‘Shining’ feeling again, seeing hallucinations, and being able to talk without actually opening your mouth. As such, this brings a new child into the mix in the form of teenager Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran). She’s known as a “looker” who can see dodgy stuff going on from miles away, and is able to work out where the bad guys are.
Along the way, Dan gets a job as an orderly at a care home, and I didn’t know how any reference to ‘Doctor Sleep’ would come into this, so I’ll leave you to also discover that, but I did like one particular quote when a patient reckons they’re dying, and he replies, “We’re all dying. The world is one big hospice with fresh air”.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of weird stuff I don’t want to go into detail about it, and which I don’t really understand anyway. So, yes, it’s one of those films where I have no real idea what’s going on, and which just feels like a mish mash of random ideas, and it’s just about how entertaining it might be as a movie.
If you’re into sort-of star-spotting, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial star Henry Thomas appears as The Bartender, and the original Danny, Danny Lloyd, is credited as Spectator. After The Shining, he decided not to pursue an acting career, so this is only his second movie.
In this film adapted from the Stephen King novel, and directed by Mike Flanagan – who brought us 2013’s Oculus, starring Karen Gillan – it passes the time without too much complaint, and does have elements of the feel of the original – thus giving you some continuity, but even though I’d rather watch it in its most complete version, it is way too long with seemingly random happenings that don’t further the plot, and it rather trundles along like a train on a track crossing that never seems to end.
In discussing the comparison to the novel (cue spoiler header…)
When it comes to the differences between the theatrical and director’s cuts of the film, I’ll leave it to this link to give the comprehensive information about the changes. I like that it fleshes certain things out more, but even still, three hours is a stupid length for a movie.
The picture and sound quality is flawless, delivering the heavy audio when required, whilst bringing across all light and dark scenes as they should be.
All the extras are on the Theatrical Cut disc, but there’s not really a great deal to get stuck into:
- From Shining To Sleep (4:56); A brief featurette with Mike Flanagan and Stephen King.
- The Making of Doctor Sleep: A New Vision (13:57): Flanagan wants to make his own ‘continuation’ of The Shining story as I mentioned in my spoiler section above.
- Return to the Overlook (14:59): Doing what you expect for that portion of the movie.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The main menu has a piece of the theme which only plays 2-3 times, and once, and just features a still of the DVD cover which is much better than the Blu-ray/4K ones. There are a paltry 19 chapters (or 20 for the Director’s Cut), and the language and subtitles options also vary between the two versions, but all are listed below.
(click on the image for the full-size 4K picture)
Running time: 152 / 180 minutes (Director’s Cut)
Chapters: 19 / 20
Studio: Warner Bros
Released: March 9th 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Format: 1.85:1 (ARRIRAW (6.5K))
Disc Format: 2*BD50
Theatrical Cut Sound: Dolby Atmos True HD (English), Dolby Digital 5.1: English, Castilian Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Parisian French, Russian
Director’s Cut Sound: Dolby Atmos True HD (English), Dolby Digital 5.1: English,
Theatrical Cut Subtitles: English SDH, Italian SDH, Arabic, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, European Portuguese, Finnish, Greek, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Parisian French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish
Director’s Cut Subtitles: English SDH, German SDH, Italian SDH, Brazillian Portuguese, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Latin Spanish, Norwegian, Parisian French, Swedish
Director: Mike Flanagan
Producer: Jon Berg, Trevor Macy
Screenplay: Mike Flanagan
Novel: Stephen King
Music: The Newton Brothers
Dan Torrance: Ewan McGregor
Rose The Hat: Rebecca Ferguson
Abra Stone: Kyliegh Curran
Billy Freeman: Cliff Curtis
Crow Daddy: Zahn McClarnon
Snakebite Andi: Emily Alyn Lind
Apron Annie: Selena Anduze
Barry the Chunk: Robert Longstreet
Grampa Flick: Carel Struycken
Silent Sarey: Catherine Parker
Diesel Doug: James Flanagan
Short Eddie: Met Clark
David Stone: Zackary Momoh
Lucy Stone: Jocelin Donahue
Young Abra: Dakota Hickman
Dick Hallorann: Carl Lumbly
The Bartender: Henry Thomas
Dr John: Bruce Greenwood
Mrs. Massey: Sallye Hooks
Wendy Torrance: Alex Essoe
Young Danny: Roger Dale Floyd
Charlie: George Mengert
Bradley Trevor: Jacob Tremblay
Deenie: Chelsea Talmadge
Violet: Violet McGraw
Violet’s Mother: Bethany Anne Lind
Spectator: Danny Lloyd
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.