I am of two minds.
On the one hand, this may be the best possible sequel to The Shining. Mike Flanagan has managed to synthesize the most iconic parts of Stanley Kubrick’s film, with the deep love that Stephen King had for his characters—the love that was so strong he had to catch up with Danny Torrance nearly forty years later in a 2013 sequel. Flanagan wrangles Doctor Sleep’s original characters and puts them in conversation with Kubrick’s visuals and the sense of haunted despair that make The Shining such an unsettling watch.
But on the other hand, this is a fundamentally different film than the Shining. It does some things with tone and intention that undercut Kubrick’s vision. And despite the ghosts and mystical trappings, Doctor Sleep is not a horror movie.