Dr Sleep Review: Well, That Was Unexpected.

4 and a half stars
2019 is the year of Stephen King adaptations.
Pet Semetary, IT Chapter Two, and now Dr Sleep; all are books that have been adapted to films in 2019.
However, Pet Semetary and It Chapter Two are decent films rather than the exciting and intense novels King delivered.
This is not the case for the Dr Sleep adaptation, though, because I was genuinely surprised not only by how good of an adaptation it is but also by how it successfully deviates from the source material.
Directed by Mike Flanagan, the film takes places decades after the events of The Shining, with Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) having become an alcoholic.
After becoming pen pals with a young girl named Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), who has the strongest shining he had ever seen, Dan learns from her of a cult of vampire-like creatures called the True Knot that feed off children with the Shining.
Both McGregor and Curran do great jobs as their characters, especially Curran who gives the best performance of the film in a scene where she is in a car.

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The bond between Dan and Abra is key to Dr Sleep and, thankfully, both actors do a great job as their characters.

Another highlight is Rebecca Ferguson as the sinister Rose the Hat, the leader of the True Knot who manages to make the simple sentence, “well, hi there” terrifying.
Adding to this terror is the film’s score, one of which is the True Knot’s theme of a heartbeat which is very fitting because it got my heart going a mile a minute in fear every time I heard it.
Likewise, the cinematography is great with Flanagan mixing his own style with that of The Shining‘s perfectly.
What really surprised me about Dr Sleep, though, is the twists it brings to the story.
Having read the novel, I thought I knew what was going to happen but I was dead wrong.
For example, I fully expected one horrific scene from the novel to be cut or left vague but no, they go all out on it, creating the most terrifying scene I have seen all year.

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I was incredibly surprised the most disturbing scene from the novel was kept, and in graphic detail. It was genuinely horrifying.

I would go as far to say that the film adaptation is way more darker than the novel, especially when it comes to the fate of the characters.
I honestly have no idea why people are saying this film is not scary.
It makes no sense to me how people can watch the Bradley Trevor (Jacob Tremblay) scene and not be horrified by it.
Another twist to the story that really surprised me is not only that the film manages to be a great Dr Sleep adaptation while being a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which King infamously hates, but also that it manages to adapt The Shining novel as well.
This creates an ending very different from the Dr Sleep novel that left me with an entirely different experience that I did not expect but really enjoyed.
However, this is where my one issues comes in, and that is how this ending feels a bit like a different plot to the main one with the True Knot.
It kind of felt like it switched storylines pretty abruptly and that was a bit jarring.

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The final 15 minutes of the film felt different to what came before.

The change was still really good but the difference in storylines was noticeable.
So, overall, I have good and bad feelings about the changes to Dr Sleep‘s ending.
Still, I found the film to be the best Stephen King adaptation of the year as Flanagan did a fantastic job adapting and changing the novel for the screen.
It is just a shame that it is currently failing at the box office because it is a really good film.
If you have not seen Dr Sleep yet I advise you to check it out.

It Chapter 2 Review: Highly Flawed but a lot of Fun.

3 and a half stars
When I started my blog two years ago, the first review I ever did was Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaption of Stephen King’s It.
With Stephen King being one of my favourite authors, and It being one of my favourite novels, I was highly anticipating that first film.
I ended up loving It, giving the film a four and half star rating out of five.

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I loved the first It film as a fan of Stephen King’s novel.

So, I was naturally, highly anticipating the sequel, It: Chapter 2, which I just saw this morning.
And what did I think of it?
Well, my feelings are mixed.
I would say that I enjoyed the film, with it being a lot of fun at times, however, it is highly flawed.
I will start with the positives fist and the biggest praise I can give this move is that the acting is phenomenal, with all of the Losers club being perfectly cast.
It: Chapter 2 picks up 27 years after the first film with Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) calling the other members of the Losers’ Club, including Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), back to the town of Derry, Maine after the monstrous entity known as It resurfaces.
Bill Skarsgård does an amazing job playing the monstrous clown Pennywise, It’s favourite form, and this is most apparent in a scene where he lures a little girl in, showing how deviously manipulative It can be.
But it is with the Losers’ Club that the acting department really shines, with Bill Hader turning in the best performance as Richie.

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Bill Hader is by far the best actor in It: Chapter 2.

As well as being greatly performed, Richie also has a fantastic arc and provides a lot of the film’s laughs alongside Eddie.
There is even a cameo from Stephen King in the film, which is very well done.
Then there are the scares, a few of which got me but many did not.
This is okay, though, because, even though I was not as scared as when watching the first film, a lot of these scenes were very exciting.
It: Chapter 2 even managed to surprise me at times with one small storyline surrounding Bill trying to save one of It’s victims going in a direction I did not expect at all.
Sadly, this is where my praise for the film ends because it does have a lot of flaws that hold it back.
The biggest of these is easily the film’s runtime.
Coming in at 169 minutes, It: Chapter 2 is just too long.
The second act, especially, drags on for what feels like forever with so many formulaic scenes.
What is worse, it felt like these scenes should have been condensed in favor of other ones.
For example, Henry Bowers’ role is lessened to the point that I wondered why he was even in this movie.

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I feel like more time should have been devoted to Henry Bowers instead of other scenes in the film’s repetitive middle act.

Then there is the humor.
I know I praised the comedy earlier but there is just too much of it.
It is incredibly jarring to see the characters experience a horrific moment in one scene and then be making “your mum” jokes in the next.
This culminates in an especially bizarre moment when “Angel of the Morning” plays in what is supposed to be a scary scene.
Plus, there is a pretty problematic idea that is brought up about Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) at the end of the film that I feel should have been left on the cutting room floor.
I get what they were going for with that scene but it definitely can be read in a way that sends a very bad message.
Not that anything will come of that message, but it is problematic nonetheless.
Overall, though, these issues did not ruin the film for me.
I still enjoyed It: Chapter 2 quite a bit.
The acting is fantastic, especially from Bill Hader, a lot of the jokes are hilarious, and many of the scenes are exciting and take unexpected turns.
There are just quite a few issues you need to prepare yourself for going in, the biggest being the runtime.
Still, I would recommend the film, especially to fans of King’s original novel.

Pet Semetary Review: Sometimes not Spoiling a Movie in the Trailer is Better.

3 and a half stars
I said in my review of Shazam that you needed to look no further than the new Pet Semetary‘s trailers to see how bad trailers have become when it comes to spoiling movies.
I can distinctly remember watching the second trailer for this film and being infuriated by many huge spoilers there were.
The trailer showed a huge twist in the film that deviated from Stephen King’s original book and its first adaptation, which could have shocked and horrified audiences in the theater if it had not been in the trailer.
What’s worse is that I can tell by watching the film that the directors, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, wanted this twist to be a surprise because of how many red herrings they put in place.
So, for this huge surprise to be ruined in the trailers is very disheartening to me, and shows that trailers really need to be more like Shazam and Avengers: Endgame‘s going forward.

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Amy Seimetz’s reaction to the twist in the film was basically my reaction to seeing this twist spoiled in the trailer. 

Moving onto the film though, beside the aggravating spoilers, Pet Semetary is a solid adaptation of Stephen King’s original novel.
It follows Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two children, Ellie (Jete Laurence) and baby Gage, as they move to their new home in Maine, the centerpiece of all things horror when it comes to Stephen King.
After Ellie’s cat Church is killed by a truck, Louis’ neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) shows him the misspelled Pet Semetary, a cursed place where dead things come back to life when buried there.
However, after Church is buried and comes back from the dead, it becomes clear that he is not the same and something evil now controls him.
From there, Louis’ life spirals out of control when a tragic event leads him directly back to the Pet Semetary, where more evil continues to rise from the grave.

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From undead cats to ghosts, Pet Semetary has plenty of unnerving supernatural forces in its story to creep you out. 

The film is as scary as it sounds, with a lot of gore and scares to keep the audience on the edge of their seat.
Then there is the acting, which is great across the board, especially from Jason Clarke and Jete Laurence, as the father and daughter.
The performances make you care for the characters more, which makes it all the more horrifying when the film reaches its third act and builds to its pulse pounding conclusion.
However, Pet Semetary is still far from perfect.
Along with the trailer spoiling almost everything, there are a few things that feel a bit unnecessary in the film.
For example, this weird ritual is set up in the beginning with these creepy kids who go to bury their pets at the Pet Semetary, but it is never addressed again.

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Seriously, what was the point of those creepy kids at the beginning of the film?

Coming back to the ending, while it was a well done and a scarier deviation from the original novel and film’s ending, and that is saying something, it does feel a bit rushed.
I distinctly remember thinking that’s it? as soon as the credits started to roll, because the film ends so abruptly.
Pet Semetary is still a good time though, with a lot of creepy moments and great performances across the board.
Just under no circumstances watch the trailer because then you will not feel the shock and horror at the twist the directors wanted.