Movie Review: Doctor Sleep
Directors' insistence on dropping visual Easter eggs and references to classic films are annoyingly plentiful these days.
In creating a sequel to the 1980 horror film The Shining, Mike Flanagan succumbs to temptation too often, referencing the Stanley Kubrick classic more often than needed or wanted.
Considering Flanagan was behind the supremely chilling The Haunting of Hill House and Gerald's Game, it would have been better if he concentrated on the scares than the tributes.
While The Shining kept its supernatural elements subdued and eerie, Doctor Sleep makes the leap from telepathic abilities to superpowers – at times feeling closer to an X-Men spin-off.
If The Shining was a symphony of tension, Doctor Sleep is the pop song.
That said, Ewan McGregor turns in one of his most watchable performances as the grown-up Danny Torrance.
Even more impressive is Kyliegh Curran as Abra Stone, a young teen with extraordinary gifts hunted by Rebecca Ferguson's clan of vampiric travellers.
Ferguson is alluring as Rose the Hat, looking like an evil Stevie Nicks. He gang of misfits are more odd-looking than unnerving.
Considering there's a scene where they torture and kill a boy to extract his powers, the Harry Potter Death Eaters send a more convincing chill.
Though of particular interest is Crow Daddy (played by Zahn McClarnon) looks like Johnny Depp as he'd really look if he aged normally.
While Doctor Sleep is not very scary – and frankly not all of it makes sense – it is entertaining and does not feel like its 152-minute running time. It's fun.
It can also be inadvertently amusing, such as the blurring of a zombie woman's nether regions.
The blatant distortion makes one wonder if that means someone would find such a thing arousing, which is more horrifying than anything the film itself provides.