Doctor Sleep ★★★

Doctor Sleep has a lot of potential. As a sequel there is plenty to focus on without getting stuck into just repeating what made the Shining great. Danny's Shining in the original is a somewhat insightful but not necessarily overpowering--in Doctor Sleep it becomes much more of a "power" to be used at will. That definitely gives more of a mystical vibe than the original Shining, but played right there's a lot of potential.
Flanagan does very well here with he has been given--the vast majority of the movie is spent on putting the characters into place and letting go when the conflict will finally arise. There's a lot of working parts and while it may seem confusing at first it is engaging and every performance shines through and pulls the audience in.
By the time the conflict sets into motion, Flanagan has already done what he does best--build and create empathetic and thoughtful characters that we care about, even in his villains. There are some truly great sequences as well, most notably Rose's astral projection to Abra's room--in many ways this defines what the film can do and demonstrates the powers of those who shine against the larger world.
Unfortunately the third act of this film comes to a standstill when Flanagan opts to indulge in recreating every cinematic motif and style Kubrick did with The Shining. Yes, the nostalgia trip is fun and it's all good and fun but if you're just going to carbon copy everything the Shining did so well you may as well just rewatch the Shining, a cinematic classic that transcends both popular and artistic circles. Up until this point, Doctor Sleep had a unique and interesting tone with distinct and powerful characters, even giving Danny his own characterization due to the fact he was merely a child in the original. But sadly, Doctor Sleep (despite its unique and interesting qualities as a film) will only be just a sequel to one of the greatest films ever made.

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