Doctor Sleep, maybe more like Doctor puts me to Sleep; maybe more like Doctor I Can’t Sleep That Child Torture Scene is Pretty Intense. Doctor Sleep is the third Stephen King cocaine induced fever dream turned into a theatrical release this year and this one is very fascinating to me. I feel it is appropriate that I come straightforward and I know the film is directed, written, and edited by Mike Flanagan who I must preface this by saying I like 2/3 of his movies. Not like I generally like most of his movies; I mean I get through most of it having a decently good time and then walk away wondering if that was very good at all.
I find Flanagan to be a very competent filmmaker, but I don’t know if it’s the shameless reliance on jump scares or if I just find his tales very imaginative yet ultimately saying very little. Doctor Sleep is very much the same, I certainly wasn’t expecting this hookah vampire cult narrative and I was all on board to elaborate and explore the shining ability, but when the film is a lackluster script soaked in empty references all that potential goes to waste.
I said Flanagan’s film and to some extent King’s novels say very little, but this film says a lot. Accepting both past trauma and death in order to move on. Learning to define ourselves through our present actions instead of dwelling in the past. The desire to uplift the future generation and empower them so the world isn’t such a scary place. Yet, all of this gets obnoxiously drowned out by the main message which is:
DON’T YOU LOVE THE SHINING, REMEMBER HOW CREEPY IT IS! PLEASE GIVE US MONEY BECAUSE….WE LIKE THE SHINING TOO!
The references just become almost everything I remember, just like if you were to scroll quickly up and down on this page there’s a lot of nice white texts but that yellow text above is what you’re going to notice in the blur.
I’m Gonna Get You Drunk On All That Junk
I devised a couple tiers for drinking games of the elements I found to be abundant in the movie. I wouldn’t advise anyone to take part in any of these… you will die. I personally don’t drink, so many get a couple gallons of chocolate milk and have yourself a good time. Pick your tier, mix and match, you can determine if you’re taking shots or sips whenever one of these happen. There might be some light/vague spoilers down below, I’m not giving in depth plot descriptions but I do reference some reveals or twist so if you want to go in blind come back after and find out how right I was:
Doctor Nap (Things That Happen Occasionally)
- That’s not Shelley Duvall but I guess you tried
- “Trapped inside Itachi’s genjutsu” whenever a character falls for a mind trick/illusion
- The amount of times you question the effectiveness of regular weapons
- Baseball glove
Doctor Goodnight’s Sleep (In For a Nasty Hangover)
- Character death
- Inception/Doctor Strange world warping
- Anytime you think “Ouch that’s got to hurt”
- Any time you feel the sound is unnecessarily loud, or the music is tense when nothing is happening
- Chalkboard instant messaging
- The word “Violet”
- Looney Tunes
Doctor Eternal Slumber (I’m Not Responsible, Your Liver Will Fail)
- The word “Steam” and “shining”
- Every time you’re reminded of a scene from Kubrick’s Shining
- tracking shot
- Fake out jump scare
- Anytime they hype up someone as being powerful only for them to do “jack shit” or are easily defeated later
- Glowing eyeballs
- Telepathy, mind reading
- Sitting crisscross applesauce
Doctor Sleep is far from a bad movie, but it reeks of only existing because of the current high of Stephen King adaptations, the necessity to bank off of pre-existing properties, and the success of horror thriller. The performances are great, especially considering the out there story, the actors really grounded this one from getting too goofy. As a cheap thrill I think the film does offer enough intrigue that it certainly is not boring. It’s very likely if you’re a fan-agan of the Flanagan you’ll enjoy it more so than I did. To me it’s a story that sacrificed any fascinating developments in its own story to essentially jump on the back of its predecessor and hope to coast on the fan admiration of a much better film.
Overall, Doctor Sleep is some cheap dumb fun, more had at the film’s expense but it also has its moment of being frightening, engaging, and philosophically intriguing before turning into a standard affair… but where have I heard that before?
Thanks for Stopping by, Let me know what you thought of Doctor Sleep and I’ll see you at the movies!