Anvilicious: Stephen Kingreally wants you to know how bad alcohol use is. The message is presented without qualifiers, unlike The Shining where Jack Torrance knew several other members of the English department at Stovington Prep who were heavy drinkers but didn't let it control their lives, and he specifically recalls Zack Tunney, who could drink almost an entire keg of beer by himself on Sunday night, then show up on Monday sober as a judge without fail (this actually makes a lot of sense, however, when you consider the different point of view: Jack is far more likely to find exceptions and excuses than Dan).
Catharsis Factor: Not present in the film, but the True Knot succumbing to the measles they contracted from feeding on Bradley and dying painfully is satisfying.
Jerkass Woobie: While many of the True Knot could count as the only reason they do what they do is to survive, Snakebite Andi is a stand-out example as she gets more backstory than the rest. Even Dan feels some pity for her before she cycles out, begging her Daddy not to hurt her, mirroring some of his own bad experience with Jack.
Paranoia Fuel: The True Knot travel around by presenting themselves as middle-aged/retirees who drive RVs and spend their time at campgrounds. They're exactly the type that most people would overlook, even if they have to now have to work harder due to modernized security and surveillance of post-9/11 America. However, they're very well-funded and connected; it's mentioned in passing that they obtained their tranquilizing drugs from one of their assets in the NSA and they have hundreds of mail drops at UPS and other mailing stores. Just imagine where else they've infiltrated.
On a similar note, the way they track down Abra is eerily plausible. Aside from starting with Rose's vision of Abra's location, everything else they do to continue the search is surprisingly practical. They know the name of the store and that there are mountains nearby, so they use a Google Earth-esque site to narrow the potential place to only a handful of towns. Then they looked up any recent odd events in those towns and came up with the earthquake that Abra caused. This gives them not only the name of the town but the street the earthquake was localized on. Then Jimmy Numbers gets into the town's middle school site to find photos and addresses of the potential targets. Then Crow is able to narrow it down to Abra by just going to her street and observing her interaction with Billy.
Alternative Character Interpretation: It's often debated upon by viewers ifthe Jack that Dan confronts in the Gold Room was really Jack Torrance. Some argue that it is Jack, since the Jack of the 1980 film was shown to be a rather aggressive and angry man who resented Wendy and Danny whereas others believe it was the Overlook creating an image to drive Dan into drinking like his father. Others just believe it is Jack, but being absorbed by the Overlook made him a shell of his former self.
Author's Saving Throw: In the Director's Cut, Dick Halloran explains to a young Danny that Jack's descent into insanity wasn't all his fault; the Overlook itself influenced him, saying that Jack "had some light in him, too, just like you got some dark. We all got both."
After all of the pain and misery it caused the characters, Dan destroying the Overlook Hotel by overloading the boiler is immensely satisfying.
When confronted by the ghostly visage of his father, Dan rejects the offer of alcohol, cementing himself as better than his father.
Watching the True Knot cycle out painfully is also cathartic due to their abominable penchant of kidnapping children and killing them for their steam on top of torturing Bradley to death and killing both Billy and Dave.
After spending the entire film basically acting like the Big Bad and constantly acting smug and superior, seeing Rose actually be knocked down a peg when Abra crushes her hand when Rose snoops in her mind and especially when Dan lets out the spirits of the Overlook to feed onto her is immensely satisfying.
Contested Sequel: Some viewers see this film as a disappointing followup to Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, which is generally regarded as a classic. However, others favor this film as an Even Better Sequel because of its more faithful adherence to the original Stephen King novels.
The film mentions several events of The Shining and references several scenes, but is rather vague about more specific details of that movie's plot. The viewer who did not watch the Kubrick movie can be confused (for example, the movie does not explain why Danny and his parents were at the Overlook Hotel in 1980, or the circumstances surrounding the death of Dick Halloran and Jack Torrance).
Also, the person who reads only Stephen King's novel The Shining will be very confused to see the Overlook Hotel still standing.
Harsher in Hindsight: Henry Thomas playing the role of The AlcoholicJack Torrance, who views whiskey as medicine, is a lot more wincing, considering Thomas was charged with DUI in Oregon just a month prior to the theatrical release of the film.
The movie Snakebite Andi is watching in the theatre is Casablanca. Interestingly, Scatman Crothers, two years before taking the role of Dick Halloran in the original 1980 film, played a spoof of Dooley Wilson's role from the former film in the Film Noir parody The Cheap Detective. He also played Sam himself in a short-lived TV adaptation of the film.
In Mission: Impossible Rogue NationRebecca Ferguson plays a Badass Normal MI6 agent who gets into trouble when their loyalty is suspect from her act she plays infiltrating The Syndicate, but thankfully they're a protagonist and are ultimately vindicated. In this film, she plays the leader of the True Knot and Danny notes that people like her don't fear the authorities due to the True Knot's insidious connections they have to the government institutions. In other words, The True Knot is like a Syndicate whose currency is primarily Steam and the general public is unaware of this group.
Jerkass Woobie: Dan Torrance. He's now an alcoholic with a temper every bit as bad as Jack's, but considering all the shit he went through as a kid in the first movie (witnessing Halloran's death, being stalked and chased by his own father who intended to kill him, and then losing him shortly afterwards) left him with severe trauma on top of losing his mom Wendy, losing his friend Billy after he's forced by a True Knot member to kill himself (right in front of him, no less), losing his ally David (who was Abra's father) after another True Knot member stabs him in the heart before witnessing said member kidnap Abra herself, having all the ghosts of the Overlook possess him and force him to go after Abra and then dying horribly by burning the entire hotel with himself still inside it, it's hard not to feel bad for him.
The very first shot of the trailer of Dan sporting a beard, prompting many to respond with "General Kenobi!"
Dan responding to Jack's "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!" with "Hello there."
There's also "Heeeeere's Obi!" in reference to how Dan is possessed like his father was. Yes, he carries and uses the axe, too.
"It's over, Rose! I have the high ground!"note Specifically when Rose the Hat sees Dan wielding a bat at the Overlook's main staircase
Moral Event Horizon: The True Knot as a whole are already beyond the horizon, but of those that stand out:
Rose the Hat establishes her ruthlessness by luring and killing a little girl with the Shining.
Barry the Chunk pokes fun at Bradley's baseball playing skills as he assists in torturing him to death.
Crow Daddy kidnaps Abra after coldly murdering her father as revenge for the death of his group.
Snakebite Andi forces Billy to commit suicide before succumbing to her wounds.
The ghost of Jack Torrance more or less reveals that he always despised Danny and Wendy, thus making his actions in the first Shining film all the more deplorable. Though it is debatable on whether that truly was Jack or if it was just the hotel playing tricks.
The Overlook itself is already presented as a malevolent force responsible for a number of tragedies in its long history, but it crosses it when after feeding on Rose, it possesses Dan into going after Abra to kill her.
Some have felt that the make-up used on Henry Thomas to transform him into Jack Torrance is this, saying that it looks like someone doing a Jack Nicholson cosplay, and that it would have been more effective if the character was kept entirely out-of-focus so that the make-up would be less distracting. Others have pointed to this shot as an effective example of how the film could have done this.
The frequent use of shots designed to mirror those of The Shining, particularly in the final act, can be distracting to the point of detracting from the actual story. It's particularly noticeable when certain shots are repeated - for example, every time an axe is swung, the shot is a replica of Jack swinging the axe at the door in the "Here's Johnny!" scene. The scenes in which Rose stops to watch blood rush from the elevator doors and after the Overlook ghosts repopulate the hotel have been compared to the Shining sequence in Ready Player One.
Narm Charm: The scene where Rose overpowers Dan after he tries to axe her in the shoulder. The way she plays with his arterial wound and takes in his steam (and enjoying some whiskey-flavored steam) can come across as hammy, yet amusing from the innuendo implied with her dominating him.
One-Scene Wonder: Henry Thomas appears as Jack Torrence/"Lloyd" the Barkeeper for a single scene where he attempts to tempt Dan to fall off the wagon and give up on helping Abra. The scene is generally agreed to be one of the most memorable in the movie. Though technically Thomas appears in a few other quick shots recreating scenes from the original movie as flashbacks, but those are only seconds long.
Similarly, many of the ghosts from the first film show up only briefly in the finale but manage to make a very strong impact, most notably the famous Grady sisters who even get to repeat their iconic line.
Squick: The murder of young Bradley is played out quite graphically and with extended focus on his tortured suffering.
Win the Crowd: In a surprising way, Doctor Sleep manages to succeed not only as a horror movie, Stephen King adaptation, and not just any sequel but to an iconic classic horror movie. Some fans even prefer the sequel over the original, and it shows why it is a great sequel.
Bradley. The poor kid is tortured to death by the True Knot in a horrifyingly graphic and nauseating sequence.
Abra. She's stalked by a murderous cult due to having "the shining", watches Bradley be tortured to death by said cult, loses both her ally Billy and her father David to two True Knot members before she's kidnapped by the one who killed her father and loses her other ally Dan after he stays behind to destroy the Overlook Hotel and a comment from True Knot leader Rose implies that more True Knot members will hunt her down in the future. Poor girl needs a hug pronto.
Billy. He befriends Dan and assists him in killing multiple True Knot members, only to be killed by one of them in turn via being telepathically forced to kill himself by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, all while he can do nothing to fight back. The fact that this happened in front of Dan makes it worse.