The Shining has been a large part of the horror canon since its debut, through its growing sense of dread, which places a lot of pressure on Doctor Sleep to recapture the same energy. Fortunately, director Mike Flanagan side-steps these expectations, trading in cabin fever terror for a slow-burning supernatural thriller. With this he demonstrates his understanding that the subjectivity of horror means that it can't lean on jump scares to engage a wide audience. Instead, Doctor Sleep succeeds in forming a contemplative piece of drama that is elevated by a keen sense of dread throughout, even if the film stumbles towards its climax.
Feguson's performance is immensely fulfilling, capturing all of the villain's quirky threats and vulnerabilities perfectly
At a roughly two and a half hours running time, Doctor Sleep is undoubtedly long for a contemporary horror film but its invigorating cast makes sure it's never slow. Ewan McGregor returns to the spotlight with a subtle performance, accented with self-doubt and defeat. Unfortunately for McGregor, his performance is outshone by the always captivating Rose the Hat - portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson. Feguson's performance is immensely fulfilling, capturing all of the villain's quirky threats and vulnerabilities perfectly, while also engaging with her True Knot companions in a hauntingly entertaining fashion: any scene with the True Knot is instantly a great scene.
It's no secret that good child actors are still hard to find - even in the Stranger Things era - but Kyliegh Curran as Abra Stone is phenomenal, exulting confidence and solidifying her own place as one of the great horror protagonists.