Doctor Sleep (2002 film)

Close Your Eyes, also known as Doctor Sleep, is a 2002 thriller film directed by Nick Willing based on the book of the same name written by Madison Smartt Bell. The film stars Goran Višnjić as Dr. Michael Strother, Shirley Henderson as Detective Janet Losey, and Paddy Considine as Elliot Spruggs.

Doctor Sleep
Film poster
Directed byNick Willing
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Nick Willing
  • William Brookfield
Based onDoctor Sleep
by Madison Smartt Bell
Music bySimon Boswell
CinematographyPeter Sova
Edited byNiven Howie
BBC Films
Release date
  • 2002 (2002)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


While treating a policewoman for smoking, hypnotherapist Michael Strother has a telepathic vision of a young girl floating beneath the surface of a stream. The escaped victim of a ritualistic serial killer, the girl has become mute, and Michael is called upon by Scotland Yard to unlock the secrets she holds in order to catch a man who believes he has discovered the key to immortality.


The 2006 edition of Screen World listed Close Your Eyes, with the alternative titles of Doctor Sleep and Hypnotic, "a BBC Films, the Film Consortium presentation in association with the Film Council of a Kismet Film Co. production".[1]

Critical reception

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes assigned Close Your eyes an approval rating of 46%, based on 37 reviews assessed as positive or negative; the average rating among the reviews is 5.7/10.[2]

Jessica Winter, writing for The Village Voice, said of Close Your Eyes, "Willing's confused procedural—derived from a novel by Madison Smartt Bell—is a hasty throwback to the sado-medieval Exorcist descendants of the turn of the millennium (Stigmata, Stir of Echoes, Lost Souls). The somnolent cast can't keep the faith."[3]

People's staff reviewed the film, "Close Your Eyes is an intelligently crafted, psychologically complex thriller in which suspense keeps building. The hypnotist has secrets of his own that are only slowly revealed. It is an indication of this movie's concern for its characters rather than bloody special effects that it spends as much time delving into the hypnotist’s sometimes tense relationship with his pregnant wife (Otto) as it does having him hunt for the killer. Visnjic... effectively dips into the same dark pool of self-loathing and depression here."[4]

Mark Jenkins, reviewing Close Your Eyes for The Washington Post, described the film, "Effectively foreboding and rather silly, director Nick Willing's creep-out has a British accent but a Hollywood soul." Jenkins concluded, "Shot mostly in lesser-known neighborhoods, Close Your Eyes presents a London that many American moviegoers will not have seen before. But the plot, loosely derived from Madison Smartt Bell's 'Doctor Sleep,' is utterly stale."[5]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times called Close Your Eyes "a flashy, mildly tingly British thriller... adapted from Madison Smartt Bell's novel 'Doctor Sleep'". Holden said, "As the movie clanks along, relying on montages that reshuffle the same enigmatic images over and over, the fragments don't add up to a coherent jigsaw puzzle. The film is so desperate to sustain a creepy atmosphere that it throws in false jolts of horror and sudden, ominous changes of mood just to bolster a sense of mounting, insomniac paranoia."[6]

Slant Magazine's Joe McGovern said, "Shirley Henderson and Goran Visnjic sex up Close Your Eyes—an achievement worth noting given the otherwise neutered condition of this leaden procedural, and the fact that the two actors virtually never touch." McGovern said, "The references to Hitchcock, Polanski, and Nicolas Roeg are bandied about, but the movie adulterates the tight atmosphere of those filmmakers with vacant, modernist gore... Still, like most UK horror cinema, Close Your Eyes is braced by its supporting roster of Brit pros."[7]

Stephen Dalton, writing for The Times, said Close Your Eyes combines "elements of Rosemary’s Baby with some nightmarish twists" and that Willing's film "is saddled with an implausible plot". Dalton concluded, "But it is still an unnerving horror yarn that features a high-class cast, including Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine and Corin Redgrave."[8]


  1. "Close Your Eyes". Screen World. Hal Leonard Corporation. 2006. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-55783-668-7.
  2. "Close Your Eyes (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  3. Winter (13 April 2004). "Close Your Eyes". The Village Voice. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  4. Staff (3 May 2004). "Picks and Pans Review: Close Your Eyes". People. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  5. Jenkins, Mark (30 April 2004). "Close Your Eyes (R, 108 minutes)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  6. Holden, Stephen (23 April 2004). "You Are Feeling Sleepy. Don't Worry About Clues". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. McGovern, Joe (21 April 2004). "Close Your Eyes". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  8. Dalton, Stephen (2 September 2004). "Film choice: Doctor Sleep (2002)". The Times. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
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