Doctor Sleep Director’s Cut Delivers 3 Hour Superhero Horror Thriller Epic (4K Blu-ray Review)

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Doctor Sleep is available now on Blu-ray/DVD. Dare to go back when director Mike Flanagan continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining” with “Doctor Sleep,” a screenplay based on the novel by Stephen King. Enter now for a chance to win a copy of the 4K Blu-ray! Here is my review:

Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.

Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.


Review

“There seem to be very few tasks more difficult in movie making than trying to make the next chapter in one of the most iconic horror movies (and books) made over 30 years ago, no? Not only is this a difficult task, but you’re also trying to adapt a follow-up to the story of The Shining that not only pleases fans of the movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, but also one that its author, Stephen King, approves of. (He publicly has stated that he hates the Kubrick film.) With King’s properties being a hot commodity in Hollywood right now, Doctor Sleep, even if not handled properly, still easily could have been a cash grab. But thankfully, director Mike Flanagan handles Doctor Sleep with confidence and impeccable attention to detail, with the final result being a wholly satisfying next chapter in Danny Torrance’s story.

Clocking in at over two and a half hours, Doctor Sleep earns its runtime by laying a foundation for all those involved in the story, including Danny (Ewan McGregor), Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl with the same gift as Danny, and Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) with her cult following called the True Knot, who feed on people with powers similar to those of Danny and Abra. Instead of shoehorning characters who play second fiddle to Danny and his continued story, characters like Abra and Rose the Hat and her followers are given almost as much screen time as Danny and are far more interesting in some respects than the ones who were merely supporting cast to Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in The Shining. While Ewan McGregor’s Danny is one of his best performances in some time, the two secondary characters in Doctor Sleep are the ones who shine brighter. Kyliegh Curran is one of the best child actresses to come out of a horror movie in recent memory and will undoubtedly start getting phone calls for future projects after this movie’s release. Rebecca Ferguson’s portrayal of Rose the Hat is a career-best performance to date. While Rebecca still has a long future ahead of her, this performance is both haunting and memorable in its delivery and one of the best antagonistic horror characters in a movie in the past few years. While nothing scary, Rose the Hat and the other members of the True Knot will send chills down your spine.” (excerpt from Sean Atkins’ Review >>FULL REVIEW HERE<<)

Special Features

  • Return to the Overlook
  • The Making of Doctor Sleep: A New Vision
  • From Shining to Sleep

So about this DIRECTOR’S CUT. Yes the new version of Doctor Sleep packs an extra 30 minutes making an already lengthy film even longer. Is it worth it? Yes it is – although I could have used less Jacob Tremblay screaming and I was worried that Flanagan would include more of the little guy’s gut wrenching scene. If you were curious about what else is now included, there are more scenes with Abra and her father/family – so if you felt her backstory was shoehorned in (honestly it was fine already), be prepared for much more Abra. These scenes include a more definitive moment between her father and a member of the True Knot later in the flick that was only hinted at in the theatrical release. There’s also more dialog between characters which fleshes out the supporting characters a bit more, which I really liked. So in the end is the director’s cut better than the theatrical version? For me – yes, for most? No. Look – Doctor Sleep is already 2.5 hours long and although it didn’t feel lengthy to me, for most people a three hour horror epic may feel like a grind.

The other special features were great though and I really enjoyed seeing the making-of stuff, especially when they talk about how the cast and crew were so disturbed by Tremblay’s heart-breaking performance which truly was one of the most shocking movie moments of 2019 (if not ever). Watching them explain that sequence in detail also helps you deal with it better too I found, because as a father who has three young kids, seeing such an adorable little bastard getting murdered that hard in a movie was one of the toughest cinematic pills I’ve ever had to swallow.

Doctor Sleep is a show-stopper, a horror superhero hybrid thriller that pulls zero punches and cements director Mike Flanagan as a master of his craft. They should let this dude adapt every Stephen King story for the rest of his career. If he actually did do that – he’d go down in history as one of the greatest horror directors of all time. Easily.

Buy this blu-ray immediately.

Rating: 5/5

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