Making a sequel to another director’s film is hard.
Making a sequel to one of the most iconic films ever by one of cinema’s greatest auteurs is nigh impossible.
And yet somehow, director Mike Flanagan manages to pull it off with Doctor Sleep, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 horror The Shining.
The story follows Danny Torrence, now all grown up and played by Ewan McGregor, who has finally settled down and gained control of his “Shining” powers.
However, when a roving gang of monsters start kidnapping children with similar powers and murdering them, Danny must confront what happened to him all those years ago in the Overlook Hotel and end the cycle of evil once and for all.
Now if you haven’t seen the first movie, that description probably makes little sense and you’ll be equally lost for most of Sleep (as one couple behind me made very clear throughout my screening).
Admittedly, it can be easy to miss that it’s a sequel so I’ll let it pass.
That aside, the rest of the movie is utterly brilliant.
McGregor is fantastic and is backed up by an equally great supporting cast from Rebecca Ferguson’s charismatic villain Rose the Hat and Kyliegh Curran as Abra Stone, a young girl who also has Shining powers and teams up with Danny to stop Rose and her gang.
There are plenty of delicious call-backs to Kubrick’s original as well, culminating in a finale that is a bit on the nose but still undeniably satisfying.
While Flanagan never truly reaches the heights of Kubrick, Sleep both honours and builds upon the source material.