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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to, and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs after the Noon News at 12:30PM and during The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington, Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review--"Dr. Sleep"

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Rick Brough, with this week’s Friday Film Review, looks at the latest scary offering inspired by Stephen King.       

This week’s film, “Dr. Sleep”, was released to theaters nearly five months ago.  

But before you criticize me for being late, bear in mind that it took about 33 years for Stephen King to write a sequel to “The Shining” and seven more years to make it to the screen.

The movie continues the story of Danny Torrance, the psychic son of Jack, the doomed, possessed alcoholic.

In the opening scenes, he’s still a youngster, still haunted by the ghastly spectres from the Overlook Hotel.     But he receives guidance and comfort from the spirit of his old friend, the hotel cook, Dick Halloran, allowing him to at least contain the spooks.

Years later, Danny the adult (played by Ewan McGregor) a drifter and a drinker, lands in a small New England town, where his fortunes improve.    A friend guides him to AA and he gets a job as a hospice orderly.    Following a white cat who’s drawn to the beds of terminal cases, Danny uses his “shining” to provide comfort for the dying patients.    They call him “Doc” harkening back to his nickname as a boy.

Danny picks up the frequency of a young girl, Abra (played by Kyleigh Curran), who might be a psychic prodigy.

The problem is that they both may be sniffed out by the True Knot, an evil gypsy-like cult of quasi-immortal beings that bounce around the country in their RV’s and vans, preying on any humans that “shine”. Their sustenance is the “steam” that comes off a victim as they die in fear and pain.

Their leader Rose (played by Rebecca Ferguson) is a remarkable villainess.    Decked out in a magician’s hat, she combines the casual air of your-hippie-chick-next-door with stone-cold malevolence.

The film’s director and screenwriter Mike Flanagan, taps into the essence of a good King story—the ability to keep you wondering what the heck will happen next.   The heroes,  MacGregor and 14-year-old  Curran, are played as Everyday people with extraordinary abilities placed in hair-raising dilemmas.    The cult characters are horrifying but also quirky.

However, I have mixed feelings about the climax, with Danny luring Rose back to the Overlook for a final showdown.    The story starts to feel overlong at this point.     But there’s also a great nostalgic appeal as “The Shining” returns, with the settings, characters and memes revived in loving detail.   

The ghost bartender even returns—but with a twist!—and played by an iconic child actor of the 1980’s.

“Dr. Sleep” won’t go down in the ranks of classic Stephen King adaptations.   But I give it three-and-a-half goosebumps on a scale of five.   For the Friday Film Review, I’m Rick Brough.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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