While “The Shining” is a classic horror film, “Doctor Sleep,” its sequel, is a modern twist on 80s horror. At first, it’s a little confusing and detached from the hotel horrors, but by the end, it circles back and is a fulfilling end to Danny’s story.
If you haven’t seen the 1980s film “The Shining,” it’s basically about the Overlook Hotel and the Torrence family who are the hotel’s winter caretakers. A little twist is that the hotel is in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, hours away from any life. The Torrence family includes the father, Jack Torrence (played by Jack Nicholson) who is an alcoholic writer trying to use the time in isolation to write a book. His wife, Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) is hesitantly dragged along to the hotel along with their son Danny (played by Danny Lloyd).
The film was based on Stephen King’s novel “The Shining” and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The name comes from the special power that Danny seems to have. They had initially thought it was his imaginary friend but a hotel worker enlightened Danny by telling him about his powers. The Shining, the name his so-called powers have been given, let Danny see the awful events that occurred in the hotel’s past. In the 1970s, the winter caretaker went insane and axed his whole family to death and killed himself.
After a huge storm left the Torrences off the grid and completely lost and vulnerable in the hotel, Jack’s mental health seems to be affected. Essentially, the supernatural forces in the hotel, namely the winter caretaker who was the axe murderer, start affecting Jack’s decisions and put his family in danger. At the end of the movie, Danny and Wendy make it out alive, and Jack ends up freezing to death in the hotel’s maze.
The film is very different from the book. First off, some minor details, like the room numbers in the hotel or names are changed in the movie. Second, some major plot points are discarded from the movie, either due to the limited amount of time, or the feasibility of filming in the 1970s-80s.
In the book, John (changed to Jack for the movie) finds a scrapbook about the hotel and then starts writing about the hotel. The scrapbook and the ghosts in the hotel are the ones that turn him crazy.
However, in the movie, Jack’s breakdown was mainly caused internally which then leads him to become vulnerable for the ghosts in the hotel to influence him. Many of the most iconic scenes in the movie are just not included in the book. For example, the ghost twins you think of when you first hear of “The Shining” were actually not even in the book. The iconic horror duo doesn’t even appear in Danny’s visions in the novel. Neither is the blood pouring out of the elevator, flooding the hallway. The maze outside of the hotel where Jack dies isn’t in the novel either. In the book, John dies by being blown up in the basement of the hotel, not freezing outside.
“The Shining” became one of the most iconic horror films of all time and an inspiration to many other films to come. Its sequel “Doctor Sleep” is one of them. Released on Nov. 8, 2019, this was based on the novel “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King which is a sequel to the original novel.
It focuses on Danny as an adult and a girl named Abra who also has the special power of the Shining. To create conflict, there is also this group of horrible people who kill people with the Shining in order to inhale the steam that comes off that person to live longer. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s a little confusing and doesn’t seem to relate to the original “The Shining” plot in the beginning. By the end, however, you understand how it comes back full circle. “Doctor Sleep” has a lot of character development when it comes to Danny, but we’re introduced to Abra and don’t get much out of her. Overall, the movie is good; however, I think it wasn’t as much of a horror movie as it was a gut-clencher. Some parts of it were so cruel and gruesome. In some scenes, the group of “psychic vampires” would kidnap children and then make them suffer in order to kill them and inhale the shining.
It didn’t involve many ghosts, hauntings, or even the original hotel at first, but it was more of a zombie and “The Walking Dead” sort of horror. Personally, I didn’t find it scary at all; it was mild horror. Keep in mind that I love watching horror movies and don’t really get scared by much anymore, but I still think that the fright aspect wasn’t spectacular. Although it was a little lacking, I do recommend that you see it, especially if you have watched “The Shining” and enjoyed it because it is a satisfying ending and a play on a classic.