Doctor Sleep's Ending Explained: How Does The Movie Follow The Shining?

Doctor Sleep's Ending Explained: How Does The Movie Follow The Shining?

Endings are never easy but for The Shining, they’re a whole different level of complicated. Back in 1980 when Stanley Kubrick adapted the classic Stephen King novel, a rift infamously arose between the filmmaker and the writer. It came about for more than one reason, but one of the biggest and most obvious was the major changes Kubrick had made in the original story’s finale. In Kubrick’s world, the Torrance family (minus father Jack who had been driven insane) were able to escape The Overlook Hotel with the Hotel still standing, while in the book the hotel was leveled by a massive explosion.The issue wasn’t as simple or as literal as whether or not the hotel got demolished, but what King believed to be Kubrick’s willful misinterpretation of the intent of the novel. In King’s view, destroying the hotel was critical to really buttoning The Shining’s thesis: The idea that the horror is, primarily, the responsibility and the result of choices made by the characters, rather than something that happens to them by forces outside of their control.Unsurprisingly, creating a follow up to The Shining presents an interesting challenge with regard to the ending, but it’s a challenge that Mike Flanagan was more than willing to take on when adapting King’s follow up novel, Doctor Sleep, for the big screen. So how did he do it and what, exactly, happened in Doctor Sleep’s final cinematic moments? Let’s break it down.Major Spoilers from both the movie and the novel versions of Doctor Sleep bellow! Proceed with caution!The first thing you’ll notice as a Shining fan going into the last act of Doctor Sleep in the theater is that The Overlook is decidedly still around. Sure, it’s been boarded up and abandoned–left to rot, as Dan says–but it did not blow up or burn down. But for whatever King must feel about Kubrick’s version of his novel, he was fully in support of Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep adaptation “living within the canon” Kubrick set forth, according to Flanagan himself. But that didn’t make the process of pitching a new ending any less daunting.Selling a return to the Overlook Hotel wasn’t the tricky thing–it was nailing down the final moments for Dan himself. In King’s novel, Dan survives the final fight with the True Knot and is given an epilogue where he’s celebrating 15 years of sobriety, a battle he’s been fighting through most…
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