Release date: May 23, 1980
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Joe Turkel and
On the wagon and out of high paying work thanks to his alcoholism and family troubles, novelist Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a position as the off-season custodian at an elegant but eerie hotel so he can write undisturbed. But shortly after Jack, his wife (Shelley Duvall) and his young son (Danny Lloyd) settle in, the ominous hotel begins to wield its sinister power.
When it comes to creating a mood that corresponds with that of the setting, Stanley Kubrick can make it happen mo matter what type of film it is. Here, he shows that. Right from the beginning we get an over-head shot of the car going through the rocky mountains to the creepy ass hotel and we almost automatically get a sense that almost nothing is going to go right.
This is probably one of Kubrick’s best jobs as the director, and its because almost everything from the setting, to the steady-camera work (which was unheard of for big budget films then), and to the creepy/great "nothing's right" mood, it all works perfectly. There are still other great aspects of The Shining including the scenes of little Danny riding his bike through the hallways, and you listen to the sounds change as hes moving around the hotel. Almost every scene that takes place in the hotel, is just chilling, cause they are the only ones in the hotel, or so they think. Every time somebody is in the hallway doing something the camera is following them the whole way, and the way the camera is used, with such a large scale, you can just see how big this place is for two people.
I have to give Kubrick even more props cause he did some inventive stuff with the horror genre here. Too many things in horror are explained, and Kubrick feels as if maybe its more ambiguous, as if you don’t know what’s real, and what is not, all of it just adds more to a feeling of alienation but for a good reason. We see how as each and every day goes by, this family is collapsing, and its not so much as a horror story about the ghosts and demons, but how much this sense of isolation in such a huge hotel, can make you go just go crazy one by one. I had a problem with only one aspect of the movie and it was that I feel like Kubrick did too much irony in the first and second act. There are lines like, “isn’t this going to be just swell”, or “nothing wrong can happen”, yet we all know something bad is going to happen just by viewing the trailer, but don’t shower us with all of the predictable lines from any typical horror film.
Jack Nicholson, was actually made for the role he plays in this The Shining, and I doubt anyone could pull it off like he did. I also doubt that without this performance, he would have never been able to pick up great villainous roles, in his future movies. He starts out as your normal average Joe, just looking for some relaxation, and just slowly becomes the craziest person you have ever seen on film. By the end when he really starts to lose it, almost every scene is just great as your watching Nicholson rambling, yelling, and swinging around an axe, all in top form.
One of the other things that some people might not like about The Shining is the casting of the wife, Shelley Duvall who is a truly horrible actress I admit. In the beginning she seems like shes just forcing her lines out left and right, of course at the end her facial emotions, start to freak you out a little. She has got the biggest eyes I have ever seen on a woman, and a very white face, so to see a chick in utter terror, with her huge eyes popping out, brings out some great scares in myself too. This and the fact that Nicholson plays the villian, more than make up for her horrible acting skills.
Everything about The Shining just keeps building and building, until the final 30 minutes which are really some of the best and most terrifying. Also, there is plenty of subliminal messages, some you can pick out, others you can’t. However, if you just look at the big picture, it is still a freaky movie
Return from The Shining to Top 50 Horror Movies
Return from The Shining to Horror Movies Central