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Film / Doctor Sleep

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“Now, you need to listen to me. The world is a hungry place, and a dark place. I’ve only met two or three people like us. They died. When I was a kid, I bumped into these things.”
Dan Torrance to Abra

Doctor Sleep is a 2019 horror film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, which is a sequel to The Shining. The film itself is a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining. It was written and directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, and Rebecca Ferguson.

Still scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook Hotel, Dan Torrance (McGregor) has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Curran), a courageous teenager with her own powerful shine. Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (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 and the True Knot. 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.

The film was released on November 8th, 2019.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer.

Doctor Sleep contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: The Overlook Hotel became one after Jack’s rampage.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Abra’s great-grandmother Concetta, who served an important role in the climax of the novel, makes no appearances here, and the final confrontation unfolds very differently.
    • Horace Derwent, due to his Demoted to Extra status in the first movie, doesn’t follow Dan home, nor does he appear as Dan’s secret weapon like he did in the novel though he’s presumably among the Overlook ghosts that kill Rose during the climax.
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  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The True Knot as a whole. In the novel, while they usually appear human, their true form is a monstrous kind of Humanoid Abomination with elongated mouths, which they turn into when they feed. The movie shows them as your average hot vampires.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Because the Overlook Hotel was destroyed at the end of King's version of The Shining, the climax of the original book took place at a campground where the hotel once stood. But since this film follows Kubrick's version of The Shining, the Overlook is still standing (albeit abandoned). At the climax, this version of the Overlook succumbs to the same fate as its literary counterpart.
  • Adaptational Name Change: One of the True Knot members, Barry, is nicknamed "Barry the Chunk" as opposed to his much more racist nickname in the novel.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the novel, Jack's spirit helps Abra and Danny to kill Rose. In the movie, he appears inside the hotel bar, having seemingly taken Lloyd's place, and tells him to "take his medicine" like Kubrick's Jack did in the original movie. It does tie into the Adaptational Villainy he received in Kubrick's version of The Shining, in which he was a fundamentally unpleasant man as opposed to the tortured but well-meaning father and husband he was in the novel.
    • Snakebite Andi is stripped of her backstory of having been molested repeatedly by her father, thus making her come off as more spiteful.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Rose The Hat is definitely a threat but she comes up short when confronted by Danny's ghosts from the Overlook Hotel. See Godzilla Threshold.
  • Anyone Can Die: With an even higher body count than its predecessor, this film goes out of its way to show you how much higher the stakes are this time around.
  • Ascended Extra: Lorraine Massey, aka The Woman in Room 237, gets a slightly larger role here than she did in the novel, presumably because she's arguably one of the most iconic ghosts from the original movie
  • Beard of Sorrow: Dan wears one of these before the eight-year Time Skip in which he regains his sobriety.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The True Knot are killed, thus saving many untold children with the shine from being targeted, and the Overlook Hotel is also destroyed this time around in a style similar to the original book's ending. However, the latter comes at the cost of Danny sacrificing himself and Bradley, Billy and Abra's father Dave are all dead. There is also the implication that Rose wasn't the last of the True Knot thus meaning that more could arise to hunt Abra down. The only positive is that Danny takes on the role of the spiritual adviser in a vein similar to Hallorann.
  • Black Bug Room: Danny has one of those, which naturally is inspired by the Overlook. It is a hellish and exaggerated version of the Overlook's labyrinth in which he's also locked the ghosts who were chasing after him.
  • Blank White Eyes: Dan and Abra sometimes get those when using their shine-based powers. So do the Overlook Hotel guests just before overwhelming and consuming Rose The Hat near the end of the movie.
  • Blessed with Suck: Danny is gifted with the shining but while he can do neat tricks with it, the experience at the Overlook and the fact that he could perceive his mother's impending death as a swarm of flies covering her face means that he's mostly has had bad experiences because of it.
  • Book-Ends: Danny learns how to trap The Woman In Room 237 in his mind from Hallorann. In the final segment of the film, Abra does the same when she follows her home.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Snakebite Andi makes Billy kill himself.
  • Call-Back: Several nods to The Shining are seen in the teaser trailer.
    • Dan once again sees "Redrum" note  showing up on the walls several times during the teaser trailer alone.
    • Room 237 and its inhabitant, as well as the Grady twins and the hallway full of blood once again appear in a flashback, and on the return visit to the Overlook.
    • Dan returns to the Overlook Hotel and sticks his head through the hole his father hacked into a bathroom door.
    • One of the shots during Dan's return trip to the Overlook replicates The Oner from the opening of the original film.
    • The office where Dr Dalton talks with Dan is an almost exact replica of the office where Ullman interviews Jack in the Shining.
    • As Dan and Abra approach the Overlook site, the camera follows them through the same terrain as in the opening of the Shining.
  • Collapsing Lair: Dan destroys the Overlook by making the boiler explode.
  • Comfort the Dying: Danny works part-time as a worker in a hospital and spends the nights comforting the old patients who will die soon.
  • Compelling Voice: Andi's power in a nutshell. She can influence anyone with her voice, for instance tell them they feel sleepy to put them to sleep, give them orders while asleep, or even order Billy to kill himself. The ability is common enough for the True Knot to have a term for it: "pusher".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Rose The Hat vs the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel. She goes down quick after they're unleashed.
  • Darker and Edgier: In a rather shocking way, Doctor Sleep is this compared to the already somber and cold The Shining. Rather than taking place in an isolated hotel, it took place at the outside that is not really safe, and the entire film gives this tense and uneasy feeling throughout. That’s not even including how almost humorless the entire film is, how graphically violence it is, with higher body counts, and how Anyone Can Die.
    • The movie is dark enough, it makes the book looked PG-13 by comparison.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Dan dies in the film when he stays behind in the hotel after overloading the boiler, just like Jack in the original novel version of The Shining.
    • Abra's father Dave and Dan's friend Billy Freeman die during the fight with the True Knot.
    • Weird example with the Overlook itself — it was blown up sky-high in the original Shining novel but was Spared by the Adaptation in the film (the climax of the Dr. Sleep novel still happens where the Overlook was, but the site was turned into a park). So Danny gets to finish the job.
  • Death of a Child: The True Knot specifically target children and kill two in the movie, with one's death graphically presented onscreen.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Rose is the main villain of the movie until the last 15 minutes when she is killed by the Overlook hotel, which becomes the final antagonist in the film.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Rose the Hat walks around camp barefoot, no matter the terrain. Averted when she goes out in public or when she's stalking prey.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Danny is introduced as a drunk wreck after the first time skip. He later explains why he ended up like this, as the trauma of the Overlook never quite left him and he had to see his mother die.
  • Dying as Yourself: Danny is possessed by the Overlook and chases after Abra for a brief time before she reminds the Overlook that Danny tempered with the boiler room before. In a panic, the possessed Danny returns to the room but is too late to save itself, leaving Danny free before the hotel goes up in flames.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Despite their horrible actions, the True Knot are really a tight-knit group. When Grandpa Flick dies of old age, Rose takes the time to comfort him, reminding him of his happy and very long life consuming people. That said, when Flick dies for good, the group greedily feeds on his steam.
    • Two of their group appear to be in a close relationship, and when one of them gets shot during the ambush the other runs towards her.
    • Possibly averted with Jack if that is really his spirit at the overlook. When Danny tells him about Wendy's death, he shows no concern or sorrow over the news and instead continues to try and temp Danny into drinking. Danny even calls him out for this.
  • Eviler Than Thou: The Overlook proves to be far more malevolent and powerful than the True Knot, handily killing Rose before possessing Dan to try and kill Abra.
  • Genre-Busting: Horror, Psychological, Adventure, Supernatural, Thriller, and Fantasy.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: When Dan is inside the exploding hotel at the end, he turns into a child and is reunited with his mother. He later appears again as an adult in Abra's room. It's briefly left vague if he somehow survived or came back as a ghost. The latter turns out to be true.
  • Godzilla Threshold: To trap Rose the Hat, Danny decides to pit her against the Overlook, which is similarly predatory, but far more dangerous. The final act sees him lures her there with Abra in tow for their ultimate battle.
  • Hell Hotel: Despite being abandoned, the Overlook is still powerful enough that the ghosts attack and ultimately possess Dan.
  • The Hero Dies: Dan dies in order to defeat both The True Knot and the Overlook hotel.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Danny sacrifices his life to save Abra and destroy the Overlook hotel for good by letting the boiler overheat and burn it down.
  • Homage: The whole ending with Danny being possessed by the Overlook, till he regains his senses and tells Abra to run away from the hotel. He then makes a Heroic Sacrifice by ensuring the boiler overheats and burns the Overlook down, basically exactly how the novel version of The Shining ended.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Overlook becomes the final threat of the film, killing Rose and possessing Dan to try and kill Abra.
  • Informed Attribute: Dan counters the suggestion of calling the authorities to deal with the True Knot by saying that they are massively rich and wield enough influence to make them untouchable. Yet, they display none of these alleged resources over the course of the movie.
  • Karmic Death: Rose the Hat, leader of a serial-killing group who feasts on the shines of their victims, is herself consumed by the myriad of hungry entities inhabiting the Overlook.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Danny steals money from a woman who takes him home from a bar early in the film. Danny's guilt over doing this drives him to turn his life around and put an end to his alcoholism.
    • Barry the Chunk lures Bradley by complimenting his baseball playing skills, only to cruelly mock him when he and the True Knot torture, feed on, and ultimately murder him.
    • Snakebite Andi forces Billy to kill himself in a final act of spite. Additionally, before that, she lured a man into her presence, hypnotized him with her voice, then carved a "snake bite" pattern into his face, robbing him afterward. It's implied this is nowhere near the first person she's done this to.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Up to Eleven, as this example is about children. The True Knot captures three children over the course of the movie, one girl gets a Gory Discretion Shot and the other is rescued. The boy, meanwhile, is brutally tortured and murdered on-screen.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song:
    • The latter half of the trailer utilizes a cover of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Think Up Anger.
    • The final trailer makes use of an brass-heavy version of "Dies Irae", the film from the original film.
  • Muggles Do It Better:
    • Despite their powers, the True Knot are just as vulnerable to regular guns as anybody else. Any muggle who manages to get the drop on them with a rifle can take them out with ease. Dan and Billy eliminate most of them this way during an ambush.
    • Despite being a powerful Eldritch Location, the Overlook Hotel is just as flammable as any old building. Overload the boilers until they explode and the whole thing will go up in flames.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The lady from 237 now appears to do what she does to elicit a reaction from people.
  • Nice Hat: Rose the Hat wears a nice Pork Pie Hat that she almost never takes off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • By springing a trap inside of her own mind for Rose, Abra puts the True Knot on their guard about her power level. This results in two very bad outcomes:
    • Rose stays behind instead of going with the other to capture Abra, meaning that she is free to come after Abra and Dan after powering up.
    • Crow doesn't go with the group to the park, so he survives the ambush and kills Abra's father, then captures her.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: At the beginning, Dick's spirit teaches Danny a neat trick to ward off the ghosts chasing after him. He imagines a box and locks them inside said psychic box forever. While Danny soils himself when encountering the woman from room 237 for the first time since the Overlook, he then calmly locks her with him in the bathroom to properly imprison her.
  • No Body Left Behind: When True Knot members die, their bodies dissolve into Steam.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Like its predecessor, the movie streamlines a lot of the source material and adapts it for a visual medium. Many of the changes from the novel are also because it's a sequel to the Kubrick movie, which made some of the plot points from the novel impractical or outright impossible.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "They're not special...they're starving."
  • Proportional Aging: So long as they feed regularly, the members of the True Knot live for an extraordinarily long time, but they do age, if at a slower pace than normal people. From Rose's pitch to Andi before turning her, it can be inferred that they roughly age 1 year for every 50 chronological ones, as she tells the 15 year-old Andi that in a century she will "maybe" be 17.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Snakebite Andi forces Billy to kill himself with his gun by using her voice powers. All this while she's dying and Danny is watching.
  • Race Lift:
    • Abra is a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes in the book, but she's black (albeit mixed-race) in the movie.
    • Ditto for her father Dave.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The Overlook Hotel has been abandoned for years, if not decades. Despite this, Dan is able to turn on the boilers immediately, without refueling them or doing any maintenance.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Like his literary counterpart, Dan’s traumatic experiences in the Overlook Hotel and his own complicated feelings regarding a father who tried to kill him caused him to not become the most stable of adults. However, thanks to attending Alcoholics Anonymous he gets better.
    • While Alcoholics Anonymous does help Dan to remain sober for eight years, he almost returns to the bottle when hitting an emotional low point thanks to the True Knot kidnapping Abra and murdering both her father and his best friend. Remaining sober is a battle all former alcoholics have to fight, and the temptation to return is always there.
    • A more comical example is when Abra meets Danny for the first time and talks to him on the bench, Danny immediately tells her how people might get the wrong idea if they saw a grown man talking to a teenage girl alone.
    • The Overlook not being destroyed at the end of the first film like it was in the novel doesn't just change the fact that the hotel had been the site of two consecutive killing sprees, and the scandal-plagued hotel is finally left to rot as there would have been no way any sane person would want to stay there anymore.
  • Remake Cameo: Danny Lloyd, Danny's original actor, makes an appearance.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several RWBY posters appear in Abra's bedroom with an Emerald figurine beside her bed. Her mental projection while ambushing Rose the Hat in her mind has Emerald’s hair.
    • When Dick and Dan meet in the hospice room, Dick says that "Ka is a wheel, doc." Interestingly, this marks the second Stephen King adaptation that Mike Flannagan has directed which references The Dark Tower.
    • Dan as a ghost tells Abra that sometimes people need to take a stand against the horrors of the world.
    • When the True Knot abduct The Baseball Boy they take him to an abandoned factory run by La Merk Industries, a corporation responsible for making several robots and cyborgs prominently featured in The Dark Tower.
    • The Baseball Boy’s number is 19, and all the buses bear a reference to Tet... more Dark Tower references.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: The method Halloran teaches Danny to deal with hostile, predatory spirits: create a perfect adult-sized replica of a box with a latch inside his own mind, shove the spirit in and lock it. The spirit is effectively neutralized and sealed inside the mind of a person. Danny used this technique to imprison almost all the ghosts of the Overlook.
  • Sequel Hook: Rose the Hat mentions that she is merely the prettiest of her kind, not the last, implying that other psychics like her are feeding on children with the shining.
  • Smug Snake: The True Knot is incredibly full of themselves thanks to surviving for years by killing children. They refer to those not a part of their clan as “Rubes” and see children gifted with the Shining as little more than food. This bites them in the ass since they severely underestimate Abra’s abilities and her potential allies. The ultimate example of their arrogance is Crow Daddy not wearing a seatbelt, which is lampshaded by Dan who possesses Abra’s body and crashes the car resulting in Crow Daddy’s death.
  • Spirit Advisor: Since Halloran is already dead in this version, he teaches Danny how to seal the ghosts of the Overlook inside his mind this way. Danny himself becomes one for Abra in the end.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: The True Knot members sustain themselves by eating the shine that people possess. It comes out as a puffs of smoke than they can inhale and even put in canisters for later consumption. While they prefer the shine of children, which is stated to the purer, they can eat the shine of adults as well.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Wendy after the time skip is revealed to have died when Danny was only twenty.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: How do you stop a powerful, vengeful psychic woman- filled to the brim with canisters of fresh 'steam' from her prior victims- who will stop at nothing to hunt you down? Lure her to the only other more powerful, more hungry psychic entity you can think of: the Overlook Hotel.
  • Time Skip: The movie has two. First is the jump from a child Danny to an adult one who arrives and settles down in Frazier, New Hampshire, while a local girl named Abra discovers her own shining. Then a second 8 years time skip arrives during which Danny has the time to overcome his alcoholism, and Abra grows into an adolescent.
  • Tempting Fate: When Andi finally confronts Abra and apparently puts her to sleep, she comments that she thought that was going to be harder. As soon as the words are out of her mouth, she realizes she fell for a decoy and Dan and Bill spring their trap.
  • Unknown Rival: The True Knot in general and Rose in particular, are completely unaware of Dan's existence, powers and efforts to help Abra. This allows Dan to catch them almost entirely by surprise and wipe them all out by the end of the film.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: In the novel, Abra's mother Lucy was the result of her mother having an affair with Jack Torrance, possibly during the period Jack and Wendy had a brief separation as mentioned in the first book, meaning that Dan actually is Abra's uncle. This is not present in the movie, possibly since most of the novel's exposition and supporting cast was either cut or Demoted to Extra.
  • Vampires Are Rich: The True Knot are quasi-vampires who feed on a person's magic and are said to be vastly rich.
  • Villainous Rescue: Danny defeats Rose by unlocking his mental boxes while at the Overlook, freeing the ghosts in his mind to feast on her powers and completely destroy her.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: The violence is surprisingly quite graphic and is very disturbing at times, enough to make you sick in the stomach. It’s the last thing you’re expecting considering how cartoony and ridiculous the premise sounds. Especially the scene where Rose forcefully pulls her hand out of a tight drawer, causing the skin to be torn off, and another where the True Knot abducts a child and tortures him to death.
  • Wham Line: Delivered by none other than Jack Torrance.
    Jack: I'm afraid you've confused me with someone else. It's Lloyd.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The teaser shows that after heading to bed, Dan is awoken by the wall loudly breaking out of nowhere. Then when Dan lifts himself and looks in the mirror, that's when we see: REDRUM.
    • The teaser scenes set in the Overlook are Wham Shots in a meta sense, as absolutely no one expected this to be a continuation of Kubrick's film, which King has famously expressed antipathy towards.
    • Dan sits down at the bar and is offered a drink by someone offscreen. After about a minute or so of idle chit-chat, the camera pulls back to reveal Jack Torrance.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The True Knot specifically hunt down children with psychic powers (which they call "steam") because their power is much more tasty to them. Moreover, fear and pain purifies the taste so they take joy in torturing them and sucking their soul dry before leaving their corpses in shallow graves.
  • The Worf Effect: Rose is devoured by the ghosts of the Overlook during the final act, where it in turn takes her place as the final antagonist.

Stars shining bright above you.
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you.”
Birds singing in the sycamore trees.
Dream a little dream of me.

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