Know Before You Go: ‘Doctor Sleep’

Know Before You Go: ‘Doctor Sleep’


Here is everything we know about the new film, Doctor Sleep, in theaters November 8.


How is Doctor Sleep related to The Shining?

Doctor Sleep is an adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name, but it is also set in the same universe as Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film. The main character of Doctor Sleep is Dan Torrance, son of the primary figure of The Shining. Dan is just a boy during the events of that book/movie, dealing with his father going crazy and trying to kill him and his mother as they stayed as caretakers at a giant hotel that was empty save for various ghosts. Now he’s an adult, and he still has his psychic “shining” powers.

The iconic haunted hotel, called the Overlook, also returns in Doctor Sleep, as Dan revisits what’s left of it and discovers some familiar phantoms still residing in its rooms. Other characters from The Shining who appear in the new movie include Dan’s mother, Wendy, and the Overlook’s former cook, Dick Hallorann.


Wait, didn’t Dick die in The Shining?

It’s true, Dick Hallorann, as portrayed by Scatman Crothers, was murdered in Stanley Kubrick’s movie version of The Shining. In the new film it's not certain how Dick is returning, so he is either coming back via Dan's shine or he survived.


What is the plot of Doctor Sleep?

Still scarred by the trauma of what happened at the Overlook when he was a child, Dan faces new terrors in his adulthood in the form of an evil cult called the True Knot. Led by Rose the Hat, the group feeds on children with “the shining,” so when Dan meets Abra, a young girl with the psychic power, he uses his own abilities to take on the role of her protector.


Who stars in the adaptation?

Ewan McGregor portrays Dan Torrance as an adult, filling the shoes of former child actor Danny Lloyd, who played the part in The Shining (Lloyd is now out of the business and works as a teacher). Rebecca Ferguson co-stars as the villain Rose the Hat, Carl Lumbly is Dick Hallorann and young newcomer Kyliegh Curran plays Abra. Bruce Greenwood also appears as a doctor.


Who is the director of Doctor Sleep?

Mike Flanagan, a filmmaker who has not just proven himself to be a modern master of horror cinema with such movies as Oculus, Hush and the prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil, but also a proper adapter of King’s work with his movie of Gerald’s Game, is at the helm of Doctor Sleep. He also wrote the screenplay.

Interestingly enough, Flanagan also made the hit Netflix limited series The Haunting of Hill House. That program is based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, which was also a major inspiration on King’s book of The Shining


Does Doctor Sleep feature footage from The Shining?

If you’ve seen the trailer for Doctor Sleep, you’ve likely recognized some imagery from Kubrick’s movie of The Shining, including sequences of Danny Torrance as a boy riding a trike around the Overlook hotel and running into the ghosts of young twin girls. That’s not repurposed footage edited into the new movie. Flanagan and his crew painstakingly recreated those moments.


When does it come out?

Warner Bros. will release Doctor Sleep in U.S. theaters on November 8, 2019.

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