Film and Plot Synopsis
Doctor Sleep is a sequel to both the novel and the film The Shining. This film follows the continuing story of Danny Torrance, the son Jack Torrance from the original film. Since the horrific events at the Overlook Hotel when he was 5-years-old, Danny has struggled with his psychic abilities known as the “shine”. Now in his forties, Danny now has to finally embrace his power and his past to save a young girl with similar abilities from a group of psychic vampires who feed on children with the “shine” to live for unnatural lifetimes.
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‘Doctor Sleep’ Movie Summary
Meanwhile, a cult of psychic vampires called the True Knot is closing in on their next victim. The True Knot seek out children with the shine in order to feed on their psychic essence which is released by torture and fear, ultimately ending in the death of the child. The psychic essence is released from the victim’s body in the form of psychic “steam” which the vampires use to extend their lives for unnatural lengths. The True Knot are led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who has abducted and helped kill a little girl for her steam in the summer of 1980.
Thirty-one years pass, Danny (Ewan McGregor) is now an alcoholic like his father. He uses the alcohol to suppress his shining ability. After he steals some money from a single, drug-using mother, following a one-night stand, he realizes that he has hit rock bottom. Dan, as he is now known, moves to start over in a small New Hampshire town. He is befriended by Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis), the manager of the town’s small amusement park. Billy helps Dan find a place to live and gets him to join an Alcoholics Anonymous program. Through the program, Dan finds a new job as an orderly at a hospice. There, Dan uses his shine to comfort dying patients in their last moments, which earns him to the nickname of “Doctor Sleep”. One day, Dan begins receiving telepathic communications from a young girl named Abra Stone (Dakota Hickman) whose shining is even more powerful than Dan’s.
Eight years pass and the True Knot are starving as the steam they so desperately need has become increasing rare. Rose has recruited a new member to the True Knot, a teenage girl named Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) who has the psychic ability to control a person’s mind. The True Knot locates a young boy with the shine in the farmlands of Iowa. The boy, Bradley Trevor (Jacob Tremblay), is abducted, tortured, and killed by Rose and the Knot. A now teenage Abra (Kyliegh Curran) senses the event, and in her distress alerts both Dan and Rose. Sensing how powerful she is, Rose makes it the Knot’s highest priority to find the young girl.
Abra realizes how dangerous the Knot is and seeks Dan’s help. She tracks him down in his New Hampshire town and meets him in person for the first time. She tells Dan that she can track the Knot if she touches Bradley’s baseball glove that was buried with him by his killers. Dan initially refuses to help and tells her to suppress using her shine so that the Knot can’t find her. Abra doesn’t listen to Dan and plays a cat and mouse game with Rose in their respective minds. On the second occurrence, Abra sets a trap in her mind for Rose, which causes actual injury to Rose in the physical world. When one of the eldest members of the Knot family dies of a particularly painful process called “cyclying”, Rose makes finding and capturing Abra the top priority of the Knot.
That night, Dan is visited by the ghost of Dick one last time. Dick tells Dan that he needs to protect Abra from the Knot, just as Dick once protected Dan when he was a little boy. Dan goes to Billy and asks for him to trust him and help him. Dan tells Billy all about Abra and the True Knot. The two men drive to Iowa and with the help of Abra’s telepathic ability, exhume Billy’s body and locate his glove. They return to New Hampshire and go to Abra’s house so that she can touch the glove and locate the Knot.
After Dan and Abra convince Abra’s father, Dave (Zackary Momoh), of the danger to Abra, Billy and Dan set a trap for the approaching Knot members. Dave guards Abra’s physical body as she projects herself to a local campsite, luring the Knot members there. When the Knot arrives, Dan and Billy shoot them with rifles, killing them. Before Andi dies, she uses her telepathic ability to have Billy shoot himself. However, Dan and Abra have failed to account for Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon), Rose’s lover, who is at Abra’s house. He drugs Abra, knocking her unconscious, and after he kills Dave, he begins driving west with Abra’s unconscious body.
When Abra awakes in the car, she is unable to use her abilities due to the drugs. However, she and Dan can still communicate telepathically. Dan possesses Abra’s body and manipulates Crow into crashing his car into a tree, killing him. Dan and Abra reunite and begin heading west towards the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Meanwhile, Rose has sensed the deaths of all her family members and consumes all the canisters of the Knot’s remaining steam to heal herself. She follows Abra to the Overlook to get revenge.
Dan and Abra reach the Overlook. Dan believes that he can defeat Rose there because it is just as dangerous for her as it is for them. He enters the hotel by himself and starts the hotel’s boiler. The hotel awakens when it senses his shine. He enters the hotel bar and is greeted by “Lloyd”, a ghostly bartender who is actually Dan’s father Jack Torrance (Henry Thomas). The ghost repeatedly attempts to get Dan to take a drink of alcohol and to abandon Abra. However, Dan refuses and continues with his plan.
When Rose arrives at the Overlook, Dan and Abra use their combined might to pull Rose’s consciousness into Dan’s mind, which resembles the Overlook’s frozen hedge maze. Dan tries to trap her in one of his imaginary mind boxes but fails. Rose tries to convince Dan to join the Knot, but he refuses. Dan hits Rose with an ax, but she overpowers Dan and hits him in the leg with the ax, nicking his femoral artery. Rose then begins to feed on Dan’s steam using his pain to enhance the experience. When she senses Dan’s closed mind boxes, Dan opens them all, allowing all the ghosts he has captured over the years to escape. Dan tells Rose that the ghosts are starving, and they begin to feed on Rose ultimately killing her. The ghosts then turn their attention to Danny.
The hotel possesses Dan who then goes after Abra. All the ghosts of the hotel attempt to direct Abra towards Dan. When Dan catches up to her, she smiles and says that she is not afraid because she knows what Dan did when he first got to the hotel. Dan regains momentary control of himself and tells Abra to run. Possessed again, Dan rushes to the boiler room to stop the sabotaged boiler from exploding. However, Dan stops the ghosts from deactivating the boiler. As flames begin to engulf the room, Dan sees a vision of himself as child being embraced by his mother, Wendy. Abra watches the hotel burn from the outside, quietly hoping for Dan to make it out.
The film ends with Abra in her room talking to Dan. Dan tells Abra to use her shining ability as much as possible and to not be afraid of it before his spirit disappears. Dan died in the fire. Abra tells her mother (Jocelin Donahue), who is adjusting to knowledge of Abra’s abilities, that Dave and Dan are okay. As her mother calls her down for dinner, Abra notices the decomposing woman from Room 237 in her bathroom. Abra goes into the bathroom and shuts the door as she prepares to lock the ghost up just as Danny did.
Additional Film Information
- Doctor Sleep official website
- Peruse IMDb’s article on Doctor Sleep
- Learn more Doctor Sleep information at Wikipedia
- Get Doctor Sleep numbers at Box Office Mojo
- Find out what people think about Doctor Sleep at Metacritic
- Read Doctor Sleep reviews from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes