Kieran Akhtar’s review published on Letterboxd:
An unexpected yet satisfying sequel to Kubrick's The Shining; Flannagan (Haunting of Hill House, Hush) utilises classic horror tropes with engrossing and exciting storytelling, driven by McGregor as the leading performance, to elaborate and expand on Stephen King's most culturally-affecting universe.
The sounds and music in this film are a highlight. Utilising the dies irae motif, which served as the main theme for The Shining, set a precendence and foreshadowing towards the final act of the film. This created epic suspense and satisfying reward. Additionally, the use of heartbeats and breaths in the sound effects gave quiet scenes an involving intensity, making me feel that everyone is sharing our fear.
On the other hand, most of the characters were portrayed rather shallow, due to a lack of time in building a bond with the audience. This is suprising considering the film is almost three hours! Pointlessly teasing a character in the first half to introduce them as a main character in the second half is not great character development; so something more engaging could have been done with that person. The lead role was inspiring and his story arc was an amazing way to continue from The Shining; however, I never felt totally emotively connected with his trials and tribulations. On top of this, the villain was treated like a comic book character, which did not make it as scary (as The Shining) for me; taking this into acocunt, there was a very large fear factor throughout, due to the variety of monsters.
As I've said, the final third contains the best moments of the film. Even though the ending achieved a haunting scene to strike a fear that lasted past the credits, I feel comforted in knowing that a strength and inner resolve have been built from testing circumstances. All in all, it is a worthwile film.