Doctor Sleep and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Now that we’re a good few years into the Stephen King revival that was kicked off by IT (actually Stranger Things if we’re being honest) it was about time we start calling back to OTHER Stephen King adaptations, and not just that brief shot of the original Pennywise in IT or the numerous random callbacks in The Dark Tower. This is a sequel not only to Stephen King’s original Shining novel, but is the sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, so describing the making of this movie as Quixotic is not that much of a stretch. Then again, there’s no reason not to swing for the fences if you’ve got the chance, and the director has proven time and time again with films like Gerald’s Game and Ouija: Origin of Evil that he’s capable of making very good horror films, so perhaps the untouchable triumph that was The Shining is not so out of reach after all! Is this a worthy sequel to the original film and a great movie in its own right? Let’s find out!!
Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has had a rough time of it since he and his mother managed to escape from the Overlook Hotel where his dad tried to murder the two of them before dying in the snow. It seems that he took after his father in the second worst way possible as he may not be an axe murderer, but he is an alcoholic who’s using his addiction to avoid dealing with his own problems as well as the powers that seem to have done nothing but cause him trouble as the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel try to haunt him to this day. He manages to find a bit of stability though in the town of True Knot where he meets a friend named Billy (Cliff Curtis), manages to give up the booze, and even gets a job as an orderly in a hospice care facility where he uses his power to sooth those who are about to die with those gifts that have given him nothing but heartache for the past thirty years. He also seems to have made a connection with another psychic user as they communicate with each other anonymously, but circumstances are about to change that will force them to finally meet one another. It turns out that there is a cult of other psychic users who have found out that eating the souls of psychically powerful people will give them everlasting life and so they roam the country looking for people to eat (mostly children as they are the most potent) and are ostensibly led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s powers are among the strongest out there. Our mysterious pen pal to Dan whose a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) catches psychic wind of these monsters as they feast upon a child, and Rose the Hat catches a glimpse of her as well, so now that both parties know of the other’s existence there will surely be some serious X-Men like conflict coming soon and Abra could use all the help she can get to bring these fiends to justice. Will Dan be willing to help his friend Abra with her little problem of cannibal psychics trying to hunt her down? Who exactly are these murderous psychics, and why is one of them wearing such a distinctive hat? Will they find an excuse for going back to the Outlook Hotel so they can sell this movie on Shining nostalgia? Well of course they will, but will it be a GOOD excuse!?
“Look, I know it’s haunted as well as the birthplace of most of my trauma, but I’ve got a forty percent discount from Hotels.com and it’s the ONLY place in the area it applies to.”
Ouija: Origin of Evil and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Mike Flanagan
In a year that’s already been pretty good for horror movies and sequels, has it been just as good for horror movie sequels? Well ironically enough for a genre known for churning out sequels, there’s really only been two I’ve seen this year; The Purge: Election Year which is one of the best films of the year so far, and Blair Witch which is one of my least favorites. Sure I heard people liked The Conjuring 2, but I hated the first one with a fiery passion so I highly doubt it would end up on the good end, and then if you wanted you could count 10 Cloverfield Lane as a horror movie which I would put on the good side even if it’s sequel status is somewhat questionable. My point is that the data on horror sequels this year is, shall we say… inconclusive. Will we have a more definitive answer one way or the other with this prequel (I know that’s technically not the same thing as a sequel, but I’m freaking counting it!) to a movie that was universally panned just two years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in 1967 at the home of the Zander family, made up the mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters Lina (Annallise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson). Alice is barely getting by after the death of her husband as her fortune telling business isn’t quite paying the bills, but they’ll make due for now and they even get a new item for the show that should definitely drum up some business, right? Well those concerns become secondary as it JUST SO HAPPENS to be a ghost living in the house already that has started to take control over young Doris and is clearly after something but we’re not sure what. For now, it’s just using Doris to pretend to be the dead father and freaks everyone out with the Ouija Board as a way to… I don’t know; keep Alice from calling the Ghostbusters? Either way, Alice is more than happy to have a REAL (and presumably benevolent) ghost in the house to not be used to keep a roof over their heads but to also get some closure with her “husband” after his tragic death. Of course, Lina smells bullshit from a mile away and knows better than to trust something possessing her sister CLAIMING to be her dead father, so she starts to investigate and even gets a local priest involved (Henry Thomas) to find out exactly what’s going on; something the ghost isn’t too happy about. Will Lina and the Padre stop this madness before it’s too late? Just what is the ghost after if it needs to pretend to be good rather than just kill everyone in their sleep? How the hell is it gonna convince everybody of that when it keeps messing with her face!?
“Look at that! How is that normal!?” “Oh will you relax? She’s just yawning!”