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Shining's sequel seeks to serve both Stephen King's book and Stanley Kubrick's adaptation.

  In a photo from Doctor Sleep, McGregor stands in a scary room staring at a wall with the word MORD engraved on it.

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep .

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Orson Welles once said that the trick of a happy ending "naturally depends on where you end your story." In a culture of sequels and franchise extensions, it's hard to keep this luck alive. The Shining ends with the escape of Danny Torrance and his mother Wendy from their drunken father and husband who leave his tormented soul to pursue the frozen remains of Overlook Hotel. But this end is only a relief if you do not think about it too much. What's next for Wendy, who was almost murdered by the man she once loved? And what about Danny? The things he's experiencing in the movie – not just his father's frenzied madness, but also the outpatient bodies and corridors that flow in a river of blood – are not the kind you just leave behind and from here continue.

Stephen King has also never got over The Shining . He does not like Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of 1980 so much that in the late 1990s he directed a more faithful and instantly forgotten version of the TV miniseries. Kings Continuation Doctor Sleep of course, follows from his original novel, but Mike Flanagan, who wrote and directed the new screen version, has the unusual task of designing a movie that fits both King's book and Kubrick's film a writer who hates the latter and the fans who love it.

The solution to Doctor Sleep is, in a sense, not to do both. Those who love the ominous mystery of Kubrick's film will find Flanagan's Baggy and Overplotted, not to mention the literal re-creation of Kubrick's iconic images. (Alex Essoe, who takes on the role of Wendy, has done an amazingly good job of evoking Shelley Duvall's whistles without imitating them.) Henry Thomas, who is to incarnate Wendy's deceased husband, faces an admittedly impossible task.) The Shining mumbled nonsense about Indian burial grounds as a general purpose excuse for their ongoing horrors. Doctor Sleep introduces us to Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her band of wandering souls-theater, a traveling caravan of quasi-immortal monsters, enjoying the abilities of people like Danny, especially when they are young and pure are.

Flanagan's The Shining is more faithful than Shirley Jackson's Hill House ends with a phrase that acts as a smug accusation

After a brief prologue in which Danny and his mother relocate to sunny Florida, Doctor Sleep jumps to this day, at which Dan (Ewan McGregor), as he calls himself, still has a child's rough time of it. He has found a niche in the small town of New Hampshire and has finally come to grips with the alcoholism that has plagued him for decades. But he is not feeling very well. Like the adult children in Flanagan's The Haunting of Hill House he has been broken in a way that can never be bettered. Just scratching over is a triumph.

The existence of Rose and her band, known as the True Knot, has also been strained lately. The "vapor" they extract from their victims – preferably young, cleansed by pain and fear – has become less numerous in recent years (a member suspects cellphones may have something to do with it), and they have become more desperate. With her flowing shirts and hair beads, Rose looks like the star of a Stevie Nicks tribute band, but when she and her cohort get hungry, she'll happily torture a little boy and get his breath out of his lungs.

What exactly this has to do with The Shining becomes clear in the last act of Doctor Sleep when Dan is asked to rescue a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) from Rose et al. Clutches, and confront his own (literal) demons. This last section draws heavily on Kubrick's film and is in fact the reason why Doctor Sleep exists at all. But it also feels pinned, like a graft that never quite worked out. (It also does not help that the film is released one year after Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One who is more explicitly and ingeniously involved in the production of Kubrick-Fanfiction.)

One of the early scenes of Doctor Sleep plays in a movie theater, and when the characters run away, you can see that on the marquee "Now Showing: Casablanca . "It could be a charming tribute to a classic movie, as long as you do not remember that this movie is for the people who gave the green light Doctor Sleep just another piece of the intellectual of Warner Bros. is property, maybe one day, to get an unnecessary sequel to yourself. Flanagan's The Shining is more faithful than Shirley Jackson's Hill House ends with a twist that acts as a complacent reproach – unintentionally in Hill House and very on King & # 39 ; s bid in Doctor Sleep . He has become a horror director, giving in to happy ends, slamming the lid and assuring us that the ghosts have finally disappeared. But even in Doctor Sleep the spirits are sleeping and waiting for their next victim – or their next turn in the limelight.

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