Doctor Sleep's Intense Ending, Explained

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Sleep, in theaters now..

Doctor Sleep spends a great deal of time building up the characters and relationship between the young Shining prodigy Abra (Kyliegh Curran) and the grown Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor). Most of the film's run-time is dedicated to character development but when the pair get pushed back into a corner, Dan is forced to confront the source of most of his trauma and literally weaponize it.

The third act of Doctor Sleep finally takes things back to the Overlook Hotel and gives one of the most famous settings in horror cinema another chance to get the last of the Torrance family. Here's everything that happens at the ending of the film, and what it means for the possibility of the series going forward.

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After losing her allies to Dan and Abra, Rose (Rebecca Ferguson) decides she's had enough of their interloping. After receiving a major power boost by consuming all of the souls she's captured over the years, Rose follows after the pair. Realizing that they need to make a stand or she'll just always chase them, Dan decides to bring the fight to somewhere he understands: the Overlook Hotel. Because of his implicit connection with the building, the long-abandoned slowly come to life around Dan. He briefly speaks with the lingering spirit of his father Jack (Henry Thomas) and then Dan prepares for Rose's arrival.

Once there, Dan and Abra are almost able to lock Rose's psyche away inside one of the boxes within Dan's mind. But she breaks free and brings the fight to the physical world. Using an axe, Daniel is able to injure Rose but she gets ahold of the weapon and uses it to seriously wound his leg. Cutting a major artery, Dan begins bleeding profusely. Rose tries to use the opportunity to consume Dan's Shining, forcing Dan to play his ultimate trump card. He unleashes all the spirits that once existed inside the Overlook that have been trapped in his mind for decades. They make quick work of Rose, murdering her within moments. But then they turn their attention back onto Dan.

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Dan is quickly possessed by the spirits and sent after Abra with the same murderous rage his father had when he chased him around the Overlook. Dan even has the axe and the distinct limp that Jack had at the time. Abra largely evades Dan, and is able to avoid various spirits around the building. Her own powers even make her strong enough to stand up to the rotting Old Woman in room 237. Abra is even able to get through to Dan briefly. When the spirit of the Overlook reclaims Dan's body, she reveals he had been aware of this possibility so Dan made sure to set the boilers to blow. While Abra escapes the hotel, the possessed Dan rushes down into the basement.

There, Dan is able to maintain a level of control over his body and prevent the Overlook from stopping the boilers. As they begin to burst and spread flames across the room, Dan collapses against the wall and waits for what he knows is coming next. But in a quiet final moment for him, he's reunited with the spirit of his mother, Wendy (Alex Essoe), who remains with him. The boilers end up exploding, killing Dan and spreading the fires throughout the entire Overlook Hotel. Abra waits outside, hoping Dan will somehow escape and watches as the Hotel burns to the ground.

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Abra ends the film back with her mother, living in relative safety. She even gets to speak to Dan's spirit sometimes, much like Dan was able to communicate occasionally with the spirit of Hallorann (Carl Lumbly) earlier in the film. Abra decides to embrace her powers and be more open about them, choosing to speak with her mother about the abilities and her chat with Dan. She even reveals that her father is also at peace, which seems to help soothe her mother's emotions.

While most of the spirits who resided within the Overlook were seemingly destroyed in the fire that took out the Hotel, some managed to escape once more. Notably, the rotting Old Woman haunts Abra much like she did Dan. The film ends with Abra confronting the Old Woman in the restroom, presumably to contain it in the same way that Dan was able to do so for so long. It seems that Abra is learning to be more open about herself and her powers, and what they mean for her life going forward. She could even reveal more of them to more people, bringing them well and truly into the open.

Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Alex Essoe and Zahn McClarnon.

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