Ricto Ebbersley’s review published on Letterboxd:
In response to the director’s cut...
Somehow this managed to carry over some of the magic of the original while giving enough new material that didn’t feel like a lazy excuse to justify a continuation for a story that didn’t need a second more. Actually, the aspects that are exclusive to the sequels story is very well done, adding a genuine emotional touch the original didn’t have. Arguably, the ending, which would be the biggest incentive for fans to come back to this, is the weakest part of this story.
I’m torn in one aspect in regards to the third act. When you make a sequel to a film that made such an impact on the history of movies in general, what are the rules a filmmaker has to set in terms of bringing back elements of the original for throwbacks and fan service to justifying them to be used beyond that? Beyond all the practical elements, the looks and sets recreated from The Shining are beyond what they’re expected to be. They’re exceptional in the way that it’s obvious, there’s so much love put into Doctor Sleep. However, these callbacks and homages somehow threaten the wonderfully written new material.
The biggest surprises were how well the new stuff worked, including elaborating on an aspect that has been effectively vague for so long, and it’s heart for talking about the fears of a permanent transition. In these moments, the story and characters are allowed to comfortably exist outside a horror genre and ask questions that aren’t quoting what we’ve already heard, but tackling the expected ideas we all ultimately come to.