Why Doctor Sleep Is Rated R

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep

The Stephen King-aissance shows no signs of slowing down, and while IT Chapter Two is the next major adaptation of the author’s work that fans have to look forward to, Doctor Sleep will arrive just a few months later. But for those of you who’ve been wondering if Doctor Sleep would fall into PG-13 or R territory, wonder no longer. Director and writer Mike Flanagan has confirmed it will be the latter, saying:

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Sounds about right indeed. With the kind of material Mike Flanagan shared on Twitter, it’s highly unlikely Doctor Sleep could have gotten away with a PG-13 rating. Few film adaptations of Stephen King’s work do (the most recent one was The Dark Tower, and King believes that was a reason it suffered at the box office). An R rating is a better fit.

So the younger moviegoers will need a parent to accompany them or wait for Doctor Sleep on home media. For everyone else, you won’t have to worry about the movie shying away from the intensity and frightening imagery included in the original book. And Doctor Sleep shouldn’t have any trouble drawing crowds, as it’s arguably the biggest movie in a domestic opening weekend that includes Playing with Fire, Last Christmas and Honey Boy.

Published in 2013, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to Stephen King 1977 novel The Shining, which followed writer Jack Torrance and his family moving into the Overlook Hotel, where Jack subsequently falls into madness due to the supernatural forces that occupy the building and his son Danny displays his own psychic abilities.

However, as many Stephen King fans know, the film adaptation of The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, differed in many ways from the original source material, which King has criticized. The Doctor Sleep movie will combine elements of both the book and movie versions of The Shining.

The R-rated Doctor Sleep picks back up with Danny Torrance approximately four decades after being traumatized as a child during his time at the Overlook Hotel. Danny has finally managed to find some semblance of peace, but his life is thrown for a loop again when he meets a young girl named Abra who has powers similar to his and must protect her from The True Knot, a group led by the merciless Rose the Hat who want to use Abra for their nefarious goals.

Along with Ewan McGregor bringing the adult Danny Torrance to life, Doctor Sleep’s cast includes Kyliegh Curran as Abra, Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat and Carl Lumbly as Dick Halloran, the former cook of the Overlook Hotel who was played by Scotsman Crothers in The Shining.

Doctor Sleep opens in theaters on November 8, so keep checking back at CinemaBlend for more coverage. In the meantime, don’t forget to browse through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are opening later this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.