The 2013 novel Doctor Sleep, written by the master of horror, had Stephen King followers losing sleep. Skip to present day and the movie is one of the most anticipated sequels of 2019, second only to It: Chapter 2. But could the next chapter of The Shining, one of the scariest movies of all time, raise our subject’s heart rate into terrifyingly new territory? For this monitoring, our subject had not read the novel but did have nightmarish memories of the 1980 film. Find out if her heart could withstand a return to the Overlook.
Synopsis: Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Test Subject: Jessica
Fears: Drowning / Needles
Sleeping HR: 45-50bpm
Resting HR: 62-65bpm
Walking HR: 80-85bpm
The eerie opening jump-started our subject’s pulse with a creepy visit from a familiar evil. Her heart rate climbed out of resting to 78bpm within the first five minutes. After the initial shocks wore off her numbers settled for the majority of the first act. The slow pacing unfolded an intriguing magical mystery but failed to elicit true terror. A heavily used heartbeat sound effect played a major role in lowering numbers by alerting our subject to suspenseful scenes. It wasn’t until 53:00 into the film that we saw our subject’s first considerable spike during an intense, uncomfortable scene, especially for parents. This moment marked her peak heart rate as the stress of the situation elevated her pulse to 89bpm.
Another incredibly insane scene came at 1:19 and carried more jolts above 80bpm. The fantastic imagery will be filed away in our subject’s consciousness for later nightmares. At 1:55 we witnessed visible goose-bumps as the hairs raised on our subject’s arms. There wasn’t a significant increase in adrenaline but this moment led into a nostalgic third act. The finale kept our subject entertained even if we didn’t record frightening high levels.
Horror movies with blood and gore can raise a subject’s heart rate at FearScale but an intense drama with suspense can have heart-racing moments as well. Dr. Sleep (2019) gave our subject enough thrilling moments to gain a few respectable spikes. The film contained an ominous atmosphere and sleek practical effects but lacked the continuous terror needed to elevate her heart rate for a significant duration. Kyliegh Curran as Abra, played such a strong protagonist that our subject did not always fear she was in life-threatening danger, instead found herself rooting along while enjoying the battles.
Since our subject can burn 60 calories while sleeping, Doctor Sleep contributed to her weight loss program by burning an additional 218. If we could insert one additional FearScale phrase into Rose the Hat’s motto ‘eat well, live long’, it would be ‘eat well, watch horror, live long’.
Dr. Sleep: Burns an average of 278 Calories
Sleepytime Tea: 5 Calories