Thomas checks into the Overlook Hotel to review the 4K Ultra HD Director’s Cut of Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep Director’s Cut is available on disc but Blu-Ray only (you can have it with the Blu-Ray edition or the 4K edition but only the theatrical cut is in 4K). On digital though, the Director’s Cut is available in 4K HDR. This seems to be what happens with extended cut/director’s cut with Warner Bros, it was the same with Fantastic Beasts The Crimes Of Grindelwald.
Doctor Sleep: The Director’s Cut (4K Ultra HD) | Warner Bros. Pictures
This cut is 3 hours long 5 minutes, so it contains 30 additional minutes, which is quite a lot! I was already in love with the theatrical cut, it was in my top 5 of 2019 so when the Director’s Cut was announced I was very happy about it and I can say, it’s definitely worth it and it’s my preferred version. This version adds a lot to the story and there’s a lot of small footage added here and there. If you can get the digital 4K version of it, do it (I’m also planning on getting the steelbook because I just need physical copies and can’t say no to beautiful steelbooks). This movie has absolutely stunning cinematography, the lighting, the colors, the contrast, you definitely benefit from seeing it in 4K, a true beauty!
Doctor Sleep is very much an in-depth character study, the one of Dan Torrance and his trauma after the horrible events of the Overlook Hotel. Even dead, his relationship with his father is as complicated as it gets and it haunts him, it’s also why he struggles with alcohol. When Dan is at his bottom, this Director’s Cut accentuates it even more and shows us how far he has fallen. One of the additional scenes shows Danny taking the money in the wallet of Deenie (the woman he slept with), that’s a scene from the novel, I love that they made it this way, it’s important to show he really has a problem, not just him drunk fighting but him acting recklessly. He’s ashamed but he just can’t help it and that’s haunting him, he can’t erase the memory of what he’s done – hence why Deenie and her boy appears dead in his bed later. It makes even more sense why they appear to him now.
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Our time spent in The Overlook Hotel is longer and you also get to see it very early in the movie during a vision Dan has, showing us this place keeps haunting him as an adult, showing us more of his struggle. The vision ends with a glass of whisky at the bar counter foreshadowing the scene he has with Jack, his father later in the movie. The scene between Dan and Jack is a lot longer. Ewan McGregor‘s performance in this movie is simply outstanding and would have been Oscar-worthy in my opinion and that particular scene is just heartbreaking. There’s so much depth to his performance. Dan knows it’s not really his father, it’s The Overlook but it gives him a chance to talk to his father, it’s at the same time a confrontation but also a goodbye, a chance to tell him what he had to say and shows he did what his father couldn’t. The scene also brings us to another familiar place from The Shining – the restroom and it’s also shot in a way that makes a nice parallel to the movie and the scene Jack Torrance and in the movie. The Director’s Cut not only adds more of Stephen King’s version of the story but it also adds more of Stanley Kubrick’s visual universe of The Shining. Like Kubrick’s movie, the movie has chapter titles appearing on the screen. Mike Flanagan managed to do something that kind of seemed impossible – creating a movie that at the same time incorporates King’s story and Kubrick’s story making it a true sequel to The Shining movie but also making it what King’s had envisioned of Doctor Sleep. It’s one of the reasons this movie is so special and powerful!
Dick Halloran has also more screentime, all his conversations with Dan are longer and always adds more context to the story. He’s the perfect character to give us context. He has a certain presence on screen, it’s reassuring and he’s the wise voice in Dan’s head, his moral compass in a way. In the book, his backstory is much more fleshed-out and tragic. In this cut, Dick tells more about his story to young Dan but it’s less tragic as in the book, he only mentions being beaten up by his grandfather and doesn’t talk about the molesting.
There’s more of the book added into the movie, especially young Abra. It shows more of what she does with her mind and her parents realizing she has abilities. The Stones are the only functional family in this story and showing more of this family also contrasts with Dan’s tragic family story. It’s also a nice set up for your other main character.
The True Knot gets more screen time too, obviously. Rebecca Ferguson is just deliciously dreadful as Rose The Hat, she plays villains so well so more of her character is a big yes from me! More context is added to who The True Knot are and how powerful they are. Dan said they didn’t care about the police but here we actually see they have powerful contact with Crow Daddy mentioning a contact at the NSA. It’s those little lines, those little details that may not seem important but it actually adds context and that’s actually important. How Rose The Hat finds Abra is also explained there. The contents of this cut feel as rich as a novel and I love that, yes it’s very long but it doesn’t matter to me, I love long movies, I wish there were more long movies like this today. And I think the audience nowadays has forgotten that there were so much more long movies many years ago, remember the extended cut of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy or even movies like Ben Hur and Spartacus? So when I get extended cuts that really add to the movie, I’m all for it!
One last thing I want to mention is Jacob Tremblay cameo. He has a lot of talent, he’s an incredible actor! He can do comedy, drama, thriller, horror and he nails it every time. I can definitely recommend Good Boys and The Death and Life Of John F. Donovan. In Doctor Sleep, he only has a few minutes of screen time but he has the most shocking and disturbing scene in this movie. The scene I’m talking about is when The True Knot kills him but the word kill wouldn’t be a good description of it, they torture him to death and that’s really horrifying. Mike Flanagan got the very good idea to film it showing us only Jacob from the chin up so that it’s not visually gory. Instead, the scene is visceral but physiologically. That is all thanks to Jacob Tremblay’s performance that is so intense and terrifying! He owns the scene. It’s so scary and disturbing and it shows the evil that is The True Knot, they’re not human, they’re simply soulless monsters. In the Director’s Cut, this scene is also longer, there’s more shot of Bradley Trevor’s suffering and also more shots of Dan Torrance in his room being woken up by Abra as she is witnessing the massacre.
Doctor Sleep was already an amazingly frightening movie and this Director’s Cut takes it to a whole other level, it is a MASTERPIECE, just as simple as that. An in-depth character study, it’s powerful, intense, complex with stunning visuals and outstanding performances. Ewan Mcgregor gives an outstanding performance!
Five out of five stars.
Doctor Sleep is scheduled to be released on Blu-Ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD on March 9th 2020.
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Thomas Storai is the Senior Collectables Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a wide range of movies. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasStorai where he uses the force frequently!
Editor’ Note: Doctor Sleep is already on general release in France and other European territories. The UK version will be released on March 9th.