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Doctor Sleep (2019) - Plot Summary Poster

(2019)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Years following the events of "The Shining," a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

  • On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep." Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Florida, 1981

    A little girl named Violet Hansen (Violet McGraw) is out on a camping trip with her family. One afternoon, she wanders into the woods where she finds a woman sitting alone by the lake. She introduces herself as Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), and she charms Violet with magic tricks. The girl then notices other people lurking nearby, watching them. Rose tells Violet that she has a bit of magic in her, right before she and all the other people in the woods converge on Violet.

    Elsewhere, Danny Torrance (Roger Dale Floyd) is still getting over the trauma from his ordeal at the Overlook Hotel. His mother Wendy (Alex Essoe) has become concerned since he hasn't spoken since their time there, but he still has nightmares of the spirits from the hotel, such as the Grady Twins and the Bathtub Lady from Room 237. As part of his "shine" powers, Danny can see spirits like Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly). He shows Danny a trick to keeping bad spirits away by showing him a box that he can use to trap them. Wendy then runs out to find Danny on the bench, but nobody is next to him.

    That night, Danny and Wendy are watching TV together. Danny excuses himself to go to the bathroom, where the Bathtub Lady is waiting for him. He uses a box in his mind and manages to trap her inside. He returns to his mother and starts talking to her again.

    Jump to 2011, where Dan (now played by Ewan McGregor) lives in New Jersey and is an alcoholic. He gets into a violent bar fight where he knocks a man unconscious and later hooks up with a woman from the same bar. As he wakes up in the morning, he finds the woman's child and is put off by this.

    In Long Island, a teenager named Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) meets with an older man who found her on a website. Rose and her right hand man Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) are watching her from a distance. Andi is able to manipulate others to do what she says before leaving a cut on his cheek resembling a snake bite. Impressed, Rose catches Andi outside the theater and takes her with her and Crow. They take her to their hideout, where Rose tells Andi that she has special powers that work in the favor of their cult, The True Knot. Rose nicknames her "Snakebite Andi" and promises her that they can "eat well, stay young, and live long."

    Anniston, New Hampshire

    Abra Stone is celebrating her 5th birthday. In the kitchen, her parents Dave and Lucy (Zackary Momoh and Jocelin Donahue) notice that Abra has somehow made a bunch of spoons float up to the ceiling. She simply says "Abra Cadabra" and makes them hit the table.

    Dan arrives in Frazier, NH to start a new life. He meets and befriends a local man named Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis), to whom Dan admits he is running away from something. Dan finds a place to stay, with Billy vouching for him to the landlord.

    That night, Rose brings Andi out by the beach for a ceremony. The eldest True Knot member, Grampa Flick (Carel Struycken), leads the ceremony. Rose pulls out a canister containing the shine of Violet, presented as some kind of powerful steam. Rose feeds Violet's shine to Andi while the other True Knot members get their share of it. Andi writhes and screams until she has absorbed the shine.

    Dan has a nightmare in which he sees a spirit sleeping next to him. He goes to Billy for help, and he brings Dan to an AA meeting. After the meeting, Dan is introduced to Dr. John Dalton (Bruce Greenwood). Dan notices Dalton clutching his wrist, and then approaches him by saying that he left his watch in a bathroom, which is something only Dalton would have known. Astonished by Dan's insight, and influenced by Billy's good word, Dalton gives Dan a job working at the hospice, as he has some experience as an orderly.

    During one night shift, Dan is mopping the floors when he notices the hospice's cat, Azzie, going into the room of an elderly man. The man knows that whenever Azzie goes into someone's room and sits on their bed, it's because Azzie knows that person is going to die. The man appears frightened at first, until Dan reassures him telepathically that dying is just like going to sleep. Comforted, the man nicknames Dan "Doctor Sleep". Within moments, the old man is gone, indicated by his breath leaving his body. When Dan returns home, he finds "Hello" written on his wall, with a smiley face in the O. He simply writes back, "Hi."

    Eight years later in present day 2019, Dan has remained sober. During a meeting, he discusses his feelings with never having known his father, only feeling close to him whenever he drank. It made him realize that his father fought the same battle he did, but Dan has chosen to come out better. He continues his work as an orderly to tend to patients who are about to die. He also maintains contact with Abra (now played by Kyleigh Curran).

    The True Knot hasn't had a good feed in a while, relying mostly on leftovers from kids with shines that aren't as powerful. They track a young baseball player, Bradley Trevor (Jacob Tremblay), whose shine helps him out during games. The True Knot follows him home, and Andi makes him get in their van. They take him to a secluded area where they pin him down and brutally murder him, feasting on his dying screams. Abra senses the murder and begins screaming in her home, crying to her parents that the boy has been killed. Rose is able to sense Abra's presence there as well. referring to her as a "looker". At this time, Dan sees "REDRUM" written on his wall. He asks Abra "Who" and she writes back "Baseball Boy". The True Knot then buries Bradley in a shallow grave.

    Abra does some research into Bradley's disappearance. At school, she is able to hear the thoughts of her classmates. When she gets home to her room, she has visions of the True Knot and their whereabouts. She looks outside her window and floats briefly as she is connected to Rose, who is at a supermarket. Rose manages to see Abra and come into contact with her, but Abra expels Rose from her head, which causes a strong enough push to send Rose across the floor. She is amazed by this power, but also threatened by it. Rose brings this information back to Crow, stating that her shine might be too powerful for the True Knot, and so they must destroy her.

    Dan and Abra eventually find each other and explain their gifts to one another, which Dan calls "The Shining", or "Tony" since he thought it was like having an imaginary friend. Abra thought Dan was her imaginary friend. After she tells him about the True Knot, he warns her against using her shine in any way that could attract their attention.

    At night while at work, Dan follows Azzie into a bedroom where he encounters Dick again for the first time since childhood. He warns Dan about what the True Knot really does, and also urges him to protect Abra since they share a connection. Dick also lets Dan know that this will be the last time he sees him.

    Rose meditates and manages to get into Abra's head while she's asleep. She finds what looks like filing cabinets and tries digging through them, but Abra anticipated Rose would come back, so she traps her hand in the drawer, causing Rose to tear her skin as she pulls her hand out. She snaps back to her regular body and sees her injury followed her. She reports to the others that Abra set a trap for her, and so it is now clear that she has to be killed. Crow then informs Rose that Grampa Flick is "cycling." Too weakened to keep going, he convulses until he decays, and the cult absorbs his steam.

    Abra makes contact with Dan again and asks for his help in finding Bradley's body, since she can locate the cult if she touches his baseball glove. With Billy's help, Dan is guided by Abra to the site where the boy's body is buried. Dan and Billy dig up the body, horrified and physically repulsed at the discovery. They take the glove back to Abra's house, but Dave has learned about Abra's contact with "Uncle Dan" and thinks Dan is some kind of creep. After explaining everything to Dave and revealing their powers to him, Abra manages to track the cult and deduces their destination.

    Dan and Billy go into the woods to bait the cult using Abra, who is appearing from her kitchen. Dan and Billy hide out and begin shooting at the cult members, and Rose feels the pain as each of them are killed off one by one. Billy shoots Andi, but she uses her last breaths to manipulate Billy into fatally shooting himself in the head. Meanwhile, Crow kills Dave and abducts Abra. Dan returns home and is able to link his mind to Abra's and briefly possesses her. Together, they cause Crow to steer into a tree, and since he wasn't wearing his seat belt, he's ejected through the windshield and is killed instantly.

    Dan drives up and locates Abra. They then drive off to make their last stand at the now rundown and condemned Overlook Hotel. Dan walks through the building where his lifelong trauma was born. He finds Room 237, still with the ax markings left by Jack. Dan walks to the mezzanine and meets the bartender, Lloyd (Henry Thomas), who bears a striking resemblance to Jack, though he insists he is just Lloyd. Dan recounts how Wendy died when he was 20, and how he knew she was dying due to the flies that he would see around anyone who was close to death. Lloyd then drops the facade and channels Jack before downing the drink he offered Dan. Rose soon arrives, and Dan and Abra team up to trap Rose in the icy hedge maze. Abra manages to wound Rose by cutting her legs, but Rose overpowers them and breaks free. Abra runs while Dan faces Rose. She gets into his mind and sees all the fear and trauma he endured in that hotel, which allows her to start absorbing his shine. Rose then sees the boxes of the Overlook spirits and thinks they contain more power, but Dan instead unleashes them to use against Rose. The Grady Twins, Bathtub Lady, and other spirits surround Rose and consume her shine, destroying her for good. But they soon turn their attention to Dan and possess him. He finds Abra, but she is able to tap in and reach Dan, saying he made a stop to the boiler room. Knowing what is going to happen, Dan sends Abra out as he takes the spirits with him to the boiler room to let the Overlook finally go up in flames, while Abra watches outside.

    Sometime later, Abra continues to communicate with Dan's spirit. When her mother asks her about it, she at first denies anything, but then admits she was talking to Dan as well as her father. Lucy appears okay with Abra's powers. Before they watch TV together, Abra excuses herself to go to the bathroom. The Bathtub Lady is in there waiting for her, but Abra is already one step ahead of her.

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