Everything You Need to Know Before You See The Shining Sequel: Doctor Sleep

Lilli Schneider

With It: Chapter 2 and Pet Sematary coming out earlier this year, we all thought we have seen the last of Stephen King’s insane worlds for at least a year, but he is back with a bone-chilling sequel to the infamous The Shining. When asking around, however, it seemed that no one had any idea of what to expect of a sequel to a book that came out in 1977 and to a movie that came out in 1980. That is why I’m here.

From the Torrence family to the shining to the Overlook Hotel, here is what you need to know before you walk into theaters on November 8th.




It’s 1975 and we first get introduced to Jack Torrence, a writer and an alcoholic who has a wife named Wendy and a son named Danny. Jack recently lost his job as an English teacher because his anger got the best of him, causing him to lash out at a student and hurt him. 

Jack drives up the snowy roads of the Rocky Mountains to the Overlook Hotel, which is ready to close for the winter. The hotel is secluded because it’s supposed to be a getaway for families so any civilization is miles away. Jack is then hired as the winter caretaker and is told that he and his family will live there for the entire winter. 

Manager of the hotel, Stuart Ullman, reveals some terrifying details about the last caretaker Charles Grady during the interview. He describes a gruesome story of the former caretaker developing a severe case of cabin fever before killing his wife, his two little girls and then himself. Jack, however, is fascinated with the story and is ready to start working.

All the way in Boulder, Colorado where the Torrences live, Danny Torrence gets a terrible feeling about the hotel. Wendy is terribly worried about her family which seems to be falling apart at the seams. She goes to a counselor to talk about Danny’s imaginary friend, Tony, who Danny is positive is real. Wendy and Danny have had several scares where Danny falls into trance-like sequences due to Tony and hurts himself. Then, Wendy reveals that Jack broke his son’s arm after a night of drinking, but she swears it was just a one-time thing.

Soon, the Torrence family is driving up to the Overlook Hotel on closing day. Head chef Dick Hallorann shows the family around the kitchen and surprises Danny by offering him some ice cream telepathically. Hallorann explains that Danny’s gift is something Hallorann’s grandmother called the “shining” which is a telekinetic ability that only certain people had.

Hallorann explains it by saying, “My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths”.

The chef then explains that the Overlook Hotel also holds a certain “shine” to it but it isn’t good. He tells Danny to stay away from room 237. Hallorann then leaves for Florida, but not before leaving Danny with some help and advice. He says that if Danny screams for help loud enough in his mind, Hallorann will hear and come help.

A month has passed in the hotel. Jack’s writing is still going nowhere while Danny and Wendy explore the hotel, including the hedge maze outside. Danny starts to have terrifying visions while Wendy learns that the phone lines have been cut due to heavy snowfall. 

Almost exactly like the previous caretaker, Jack begins to act strangely and is prone to violent outbursts while trying to stay alcohol-free which is working so far. Later, he is woken by Wendy when he fell asleep at his type-writer and Jack explains he had a nightmare that he killed Wendy and Danny. 

During this, Danny’s curiosity overcomes him when he sees room 237’s door open and he enters the room. In there, he is greeted by a woman that then tries to choke him. He emerges from the room alive but bruised and traumatized. Jack and Wendy see him and Wendy immediately accuses Jack of abusing Danny. Jack denies all accusations.

After a fight with Wendy, Jack wanders into the Gold Room and meets a ghost bartender named Lloyd. Jack complains about his wife there while drowning himself in drinks. 

Danny then tells Wendy of the woman in room 237. Wendy finds Jack and tells him that a woman in room 237 tried to strangle Danny. Jack investigates and sees the ghost woman who chases him out, cackling. The woman gave him such a scare that he tells Wendy he saw nothing. 

The husband and wife get into another fight about whether to take Danny away from the hotel and Jack storms off again, straight into the Gold Room where he sees ghosts attending a ball. He meets a ghost named Grady who tells Jack that he must “correct” his wife and child and Jack readily agrees. 

During this time, Danny reaches out to Hallorann by using his abilities. The chef becomes scared about what’s happening at the hotel and begins the long flight home. Before Hallorann gets on the plane, Danny screams out “Redrum” (‘Murder’ backward) before falling into a trance and starts referring to himself as “Tony”. 

As Wendy starts to grow concerned about her husband and Danny, she finds Jack at his typewriter typing the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again. 

Terrified, Wendy begs to leave the hotel with Danny but Jack, overcome with rage, threatens her. Wendy hits him over the head with a baseball bat and locks him in the kitchen pantry. She then realizes that they are stranded at the hotel because Jack disabled the snowcat and two-way radio. 

Jack, stuck in the pantry, communicates with Grady who lets him out of the pantry and gives him an ax to go kill Danny and Wendy. A chase ensues as Wendy tries to get Danny to safety and not run into Jack’s deadly path. 

Wendy is able to get Danny out of the Overlook by pushing him out a bathroom window but it is not big enough for her to fit through. Jack starts to break down the door (the infamous “Here’s Johnny” scene), but is warded off when Wendy stabs him with a knife from the kitchen.  

Hallorann arrives in a working snowcat but Jack hears him. In the lobby, Jack murders the chef before going into the snow to find Danny who ran into the hedge maze that is much different at night. 

Running through the hotel, Wendy is trying to find Danny and encounters ghosts, Halloran’s corpse, and more. In the hedge maze, Danny makes a fake path to mislead Jack and hides behind a snowdrift. 

Jack gets lost in the green while Danny escapes, finding his mom. The two escape together as Jack slowly freezes in the hedge maze. 

Later, we get a shot of a picture from 1921 hanging in the hotel’s hallway. Among all of the party-goers stands a smiling Jack Torrence. 


Doctor Sleep takes place years after the events at the Overlook hotel and Danny is now an adult that has fallen into his father’s old habits of drinking. He’s haunted by the demons of the Overlook hotel and feels trapped in his mind. 

Danny is trying to shed his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence but it doesn’t seem to work until he moves to a New Hampshire town that has an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) community that is helping him and a job at a nursing home. Danny becomes ‘Doctor Sleep’ where he uses his powers, aided by a cat, to help the elderly fall into a peaceful eternal slumber and give them a final comfort. 

His life is as normal as it gets until he meets a little girl named Abra Stone who has the brightest shining ability he has ever seen. Her shining awakens Danny’s own demons and he turns to help Abra against a new war. Abra and Danny are up against the True Knot. 

The True Knot looks like a group of harmless people married to their RVs, but dark secrets lie underneath the smiles. Danny and Abra learn that the True Knot are semi-immortal and they obtain this by feeding off the “steam” that kids with the shining produce. The kids are slowly tortured to death while the True Knot drive across America with the kids’s steams keeping them alive. 

Danny is up against true evil with a girl who doesn’t know how to use her powers with him. It’s a battle between dark and light, evil and good, Danny and Abra and the True Knot. The only question is who will prevail.

Doctor Sleep opens in all theaters November 8th so grab tickets now and experience Stephen King’s world with Danny Torrence and Abra Stone.