Critic Reviews



Based on 44 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The scary and powerful Doctor Sleep works best when doing its own thing rather than recreating parts of The Shining.
The Overlook Hotel is still plenty creepy, as is the crusty naked ghost lady in Room 217. But the adaptation of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is more likely to keep you awake at night with the fresher stuff than the retreads.
Like HBO’s new Watchmen series, Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep doesn’t simply rehash its source material, and instead uses its characters, setting, and themes in smart and novel ways.
Working off source material that is very different from its predecessor, anyone expecting a straightforward Shining sequel will be disappointed. This isn’t a gruelling exercise in pure horror. It’s odder and more contemplative, but worth checking in.
It doesn’t have Jack Nicholson, Stanley Kubrick or even much of the Overlook Hotel, but Rebecca Ferguson and other good actors provide some shine of their own in Doctor Sleep, a drawn-out and seldom pulse-quickening follow-up to The Shining that still has enough going on to forestall any audience slumber.
Doctor Sleep is a mess. It’s way too long, clashing somber sobriety with loony cheap thrills. The Shining homages turn shameless and cheap. The jumpscares are more funny than scary.
Doctor Sleep shows considerable effort to ingratiate itself to discerning cinephiles, from the moody Newton Brothers score to cinematographer Michael Fimognari’s dark blue nighttime palette; as a whole, the movie conjures an eerie and wondrous atmosphere that blends abject terror with a somber, mournful quality unique to Flanagan’s oeuvre. But his pandering to dueling source material results in a jagged puzzle beneath both of their standards.
Like a servant to two masters, “Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep” wants both Stephen King and fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film of his book “The Shining” to be happy. But sadly, it isn’t enough of its own chilling entity to have much impact.
It is more than half an hour longer than the Stanley Kubrick film, although it seems more than that – laborious, directionless and densely populated with boring new characters among whom the narrative focus is muddled and split.
Time Out
You could call it fan service, if the service is to teach fans that mimicking Stanley Kubrick’s chilly elegance—and even reshooting scenes from the original film with lookalike actors, a crime bordering on sacrilege—doesn’t make your take nearly as scary.

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