Doctor Sleep (2019)
Danny Torrance is an alcoholic, but finds a place of peace and sobriety in New Hampshire, where he uses his psychic power, which he calls the shine, to ease the deaths of the elderly people in a local hospice. Death isn’t often realistically shown in films — not the quiet deaths, the elderly deaths, the four a.m. in an empty room, afraid and alone deaths – but in Doctor Sleep, we see final breaths leave peoples bodies. It’s shocking, because it is portrayed so simply and truthfully, but it is also life-affirming. Danny is performing the ultimate service, soothing people out of life, just as a midwife brings a baby into it.
We also see a young boy with the shine horrifically murdered by an extended family of vampire-like people, his death deliberately brutal and painful to maximise the amount of dying breath he releases, which is their food. Over several years, Danny has psychic conversations with Abra, a teenager with an incredibly strong shine who he hasn’t met. She witnesses the boy’s death. Using her power, she tracks Danny down to ask for his help, but he warns her to keep her power under wraps, like he has, because the creatures, who call themselves the True Knot, will come for her next.
Rose the Hat is an interesting villain. Her group acts like a family, with strong bonds and loyalty, and we are sympathetic to their ever-worsening hunger, even knowing they are picking off shine children across America. They are at the top of the food chain, above humans, and need to find people who are potent with the shine for nourishment. As Crow laments, children have the strongest shine, before the adult world drains them, but in the modern world technology dulls even children’s shines. When Rose senses Abra, she resolves to track her down. Danny, Abra and Rose the Hat meet for a final showdown at The Overlook, and that’s a fine finale to my 2020 #31DaysOfHorror.