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The Shining film review

Updated on May 24, 2012
5 stars for The Shining
The Shining promotional poster
The Shining promotional poster

Horror at its finest!

Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece The Shining (1980) is a testament to all of the things that are good in a horror film, or a film of any genre for that matter. The set is vast and expansive yet inside you feel trapped. The colors are lush and the direction is precise. Due to the perfectionism of the director a shoot that was only supposed to last 12 weeks ended up lasting 46. You can definitely see how this happened when watching this extraordinary motion picture! Kubrick, accompanied by Jack Nicholson, bring you into the heart of fear and just plain creepiness. It was based off of a novel by the great Stephen King which is almost always a good sign for a film.

A most iconic Jack Nicholson gone mad.
A most iconic Jack Nicholson gone mad.

Psychological. Profound. Perfect.

The film is sometimes hailed as Legendary director Stanley Kubrick's magnum-opus. Due to his large body of work this can be argued (A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey). But I could see why somebody would say such a thing. It is influential, ground-breaking and timeless. The film opens in a job interview with Jack Torrence (Nicholson) a father of a young boy named Danny and husband to Wendy (Shelly Duvall). He is interviewing at The Overlook Hotel for a off-season job, basically watching the place and repairing it during the harsh winter months. Complete isolation... His son Danny has remarkable powers that allow him to foresee events in the future as well as the past. And some events he'll learn are best forgot. A decade ago a horrible act of violence occurred. The person who had the same job as Jack went completely mad and murdered his wife and two daughters with a fire axe. Was it the isolation? Or was it something a bit more supernatural? Jack soon shares the same fate as the previous employee and is slowly convinced by spirits to kill his wife and son. The film plays off a ghost story but it's more about the actual process of Jack going insane. The film could entirely be in his head, we just never know. But in the beginning it does say that the site the hotel was built on was a Indian burial ground and that may explain the haunting. The film may seem a little slow to some people but by the end of the film you will be glad you made the 2+ hours investment into it. I on the other hand find every second of the film very thrilling. Jack Nicholson's presence on screen is unmatched by any other actor I've seen in a horror film. Nicholson's acting is so flawless just thinking about it gives me chills. He has no limits, which is fitting because neither does Kubrick... The movie has a couple interpretations including that it's an allegory for the holocaust and even the genocide of Native Americans. The film leads to Jack chasing his family around the hotel with murderous intention that leads to him chasing after Danny into a hedge maze. The film proves itself to be as puzzling as the maze it ends in and it will serve for great discussion with someone after seeing it.

The vast hallways echo the terror of the hotel
The vast hallways echo the terror of the hotel

Final Thoughts...

The Shining is a great journey for any cinema adventurer. The film has a lot of disturbing imagery so I don't suggest showing it to a young child for it would likely scar his/her fragile brain. If you're looking for a good scare or looking for a great movie both will be found here. Personally after seeing it 4 times it's still one of my favorite movies. In one word this movie is simply Iconic.

Which of these is scarier?

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    • OldWitchcraft profile image


      6 years ago from The Atmosphere

      This is one of my favorite movies! I watch it frequently when I'm trying to relax. I love the hotel. I love Jack Nicholson - some of the lines in this film are really amazing. The little boy is an outstanding actor. And, this term "shining" has a very old history. I ran across it doing research on Luciferianism and the origins of Satan. A Satan (adversary to the Jews) is one who shines and is likened to the Morning Star and possibly Lucifer. There's just a lot in this film to break down...

      I think Eyes Wide Shut is a real contender for being his best, though. I vacillate from one to the other. Eyes Wide Shut really blew my mind for all of the occult symbolism and the open ending. I have had real life experiences like this... I have to watch that movie to feel better sometimes. The same with The Shining.

      Wasn't Scatman Crothers really something, too? I love the scene with the ladies in the paintings. That scene was echoed by the director of The Secret Window. Blew my mind when I saw it because as a huge fan of The Shining, I recognized it immediately.

      Great hub! Voting you up! Accolades


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