Dr. Sleep review



Zach Dulny, Critic

“Dr. Sleep” is an unusual 2019 fantasy/thriller. This movie is based off of the book of the same name by Stephen King. While an intriguing book, it is an odd movie  It tries to match some of the art style of the late Stanley Kubrick. It may be unusual, but not Kubrick unusual. It gets points for being unique, but loses points from a movie critic standpoint. It isn’t a good movie if you go by the books. 

Overall, this movie is a weird one. Using overlaying shots and over-the-top acting, the movie is a fun one. With a chilling performance by Rebecca Ferguson, the movie is set up for success with its odd storyline. Although she gives it her all, the movie is difficult to like. The antagonist does visually disturbing things to children. Instead of getting a satisfying, well deserved death, they get an underwhelming death with terrible CGI. Some of the villains’ deaths seem less than a second long and end up killing a good character along with it. It makes the audience mad and leaves them annoyed.

In this movie, the acting is decent. The male lead, Ewan McGregor, gives a pretty good performance. Other than the end when he lets his Scottish accent take over, he does pretty well. The child lead, Kyliegh Curran, gives a great performance with having to perform a “shine.” A “shine” is pretty much just psychi ability. The main villains are nothing more than mediocre and the side villains are utterly forgettable. The two actors they had to represent the characters Wendy Torrance and Jack Torrance do a pretty good impersonation of the original actors.The child they brought in to play Jack Torrance does decent as well. Overall acting is decent, with Ferguson, McGregor and Curran being some highlights of this movie.

The editing and filmography for this movie is odd. I think the director was trying to encapsulate Kubrick’s work, but they really don’t. I like the odd edits to set a mood, and all that. But as Kubrick would use long shots to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, this movie uses mostly short shots to not have anyone linger too long on an emotion. The movie does have shots that are exact replications of the original “The Shining.”. That’s another part of the movie that brings it down.

They replicated shots from the original movie “The Shining.” They replicate the effect of having the kid drive over the carpet and that sound design along with it. They also remake the blood elevator with CGI blood. The CGI in this movie is awful for the most part. And then they remake classic shots for flashbacks and a few of them are decent replications. The shots they remade for flashbacks are fine, but the shots that just reuse elements from the original are not. This movie should’ve stayed away from the first movie because all it does it make you realize how good the first movie was.

This movie is really unusual. That’s the main reason I am rating it higher. It feels like a fantasy. There is a lot of creativity in this movie. This movie is what the title “The Shining” should be linked to. The original movie, and book, in my opinion should not be named “The Shining” because this movie, and book, is about the ability to shine. Honestly the movie has really strong ideas and plot elements, it just needs to go all the way. This movie does go pretty far, but if it went all the way with its ideas it would be rated so much higher. This movie has such crazy ideas, edits, and acting it just needed to go all the way with it. And that’s the problem.

One thing that is neither good, nor bad, is the pacing. The first act is pretty well paced, with action and exposition. The second act also has a lot of good imagery and exposition, but is also just a bit too long aswell. The final act is, the hardest act to explain and is overall confusing… The problem with it is that it starts off with every villain, except one, being taken out. It then proceeds to be so obviously in the protagonist’s favor.  It is just a reason for McGregor to show off his best crazy.. he ending is nothing more than okay. It is supposed to be a twist, but didn’t turn out hat way. It solves all the plot holes that would’ve happened if the final act didn’t go that way, but it still isn’t the best final act. 

The best part of this movie is the tone. It’s set up so well that by the ending, you may not even know what is real and what isn’t. The movie is meant to psychologically confuse the viewer and it succeeds with that perfectly. I think the tone is really good and one of the I have seen best in modern thrillers.

Overall, the movie is confusing and unusual. I love it, but I hate that I love it. It is visually interesting to the mind, but when it compares itself to Kubrick it isn’t as striking. The movie when it does what it wants is great and when it doesn’t it isn’t as good. It shifts between great qualities and questionable ones, but overall, I think it is a good film. 


Grade: C+ (3.6/5)