Deep Focus: “Doctor Sleep”

Story posted April 5, 2021 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Jack Freiser

“Doctor Sleep,” written and directed by Mike Flanagan, is the long-awaited sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s classic “The Shining.” The film takes place 40 years after the original film and follows Danny (Ewan McGregor) as he goes on a new adventure to protect a child who has abilities just like him.

There was a ton of hype for this movie, especially because Flanagan had just released “The Haunting of Hill House,” which was a massive hit. Although the film was praised critically, it only made $31.5 million in the US with a $50 million budget.

“Doctor Sleep” is phenomenal in many ways. The directing is absolutely breathtaking, the performances are fantastic, and the writing is very fresh and creative. The film successfully keeps the tone of its predecessor while still being very unique.

Flanagan does an incredible job directing this film. He has a very different style of filmmaking than Kubrick, but his style works very well with this movie. “Doctor Sleep” is full of jaw-dropping shots, and the visual effects that Flanagan employs are used very skillfully. Flanagan clearly has a huge career ahead of him; he is already a master of creating suspense and filming terrifying shots.

Flanagan does not hold back on the gore. The deaths are visually incredible and insanely realistic. There are a multitude of haunting shots that will stick with the audience long after they finish watching the film. Put succinctly, Flanagan is an absolutely incredible horror director who masterfully navigates between horror and suspense.

The whole cast is captivating; every character is written well and given enough depth to maintain interest throughout. But Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson give career-defining performances.

Ferguson plays an outstanding villain. Her character is terrifying and presents an insanely intimidating force throughout the film. She also never feels over the top which makes her even more frightening. Ferguson’s introduction in “Doctor Sleep” is one of the best villain intros in cinema. Ferguson is truly a phenomenal actress who proves her acting prowess in this film.

Ewan McGregor also gives a raw and emotional performance. He is the heart of the film, and he absolutely delivers. McGregor successfully carries the mantle of the leading man in “The Shining” franchise established by Jack Nicholson.

Nicholson’s performance in “The Shining” is one of the most iconic performances of all time, partly because Jack Torrance is a great character, but Nicholson’s presence does not feel absent because of McGregor’s incredible Danny Torrance.

Danny is very different to his father, yet both characters are captivating leads in their respective films.

The writing in “Doctor Sleep” is also superb. The story has a ton of twists and turns, and everything that happens is written in a very smart way.

Each character has an amazing and deserved arc. The film also does a great job of making all of the supernatural elements seem realistic.

There are many tiny details that, if one catches, it makes the film that much better. The film also has a ton of references to its predecessor without feeling overbearing or gimmicky.

With brilliant performances from Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, Mike Flanagan tells a wonderful story filled to the brim with liveliness. Truly, “Doctor Sleep” is an incredible film that is a must-see for any horror or thriller fan. This is a worthy successor to the incredible “The Shining.”


Jack Freiser is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email