I walked out of Doctor Sleep about an hour into the movie. As a critic, I believe it’s important to try to test your limitations in reasonable ways. I dislike being frightened, but horror is a successful and socially significant genre, so I recognise that it’s important for me to at least attempt to sit through some of those movies.
But if you test your limits, sometimes you’ll fail. And recognising the difference between a bad movie and one that simply isn’t to your taste or that is beyond your capacity can be a clarifying experience. It’s worth it to try a movie that might push you, and it’s perfectly all right to walk out if it pushes you too far.
Early in Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), an unhappy adult who has dulled his visions with drugs and alcohol and inherited his father’s penchant for violence, wakes up in bed with a naked woman after a bender. She’s unconscious, perhaps overdosed, and has vomited on the sheets. Danny discovers that there is a tear-stained, neglected toddler in the apartment with them as well.
Rather than getting help for this miserable little family, or even changing the child’s nappy, Danny sets the child on the filthy bed with a bag of Cheez-Its as poor consolation before rifling through the mother’s wallet and fleeing.