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The Shining

1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick

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Shine Your...Light?

  • Feb 12, 2008
Though me and my mom normally share various points of views on certain film makers, we tend to split when it comes to Stanley Kubrick. My mom says, "he's so weird." I tell her "yeah, but he's a brilliant film maker, who films visually stunning films that are also mesmerizing." To this she just shrugs and says, "I don't care, he's still weird." Though a big fan of the director, for some reason his 80's horror film, "The Shining," escaped me for the longest time. Based off the best selling book by Stephen King, "The Shining" is one of the Kubricks masterpieces. Yeah, yeah, I know for many people every movie the man made was a masterpiece, but this is one of those rare occurrences where art and entertainment collide so spectacularly, it almost feels accidental.

The movie revolves around Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson, in one of his best roles), a struggling writer who is having a bad case of writers block. He is a recovering alcoholic who lost his teaching job due to his short temper, so he interviews for a job as a caretaker of a hotel that closes it's doors during the winter season. Jack gets the job, and moves his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) to the hotel for the winter. Before letting them into the building though, the manager warns them that due to the months of insolation, they are likely to experience Cabin Fever. One caretaker apparently suffered this and ended up killing his wife and two daughters. Jack thanks the man for the warning, but takes the job anyway. It's a shame Jack didn't know he was part of a Stephen King story, he most likely would have passed on the job.

What follows is nothing short of a full decent into madness. Though this is a horror film, and the movie is indeed very scary, Kubrick is a good enough storyteller that he knows how to properly build the suspense. At first little happens in the house. Wendy and Danny explore all the various rooms in the house, while Jack tried to write a novel. When that fails, Jack simply wastes time by bouncing a tennis ball against the wall. Once the snow starts though, things get bumpy. Jack becomes more and more agitated, Wendy becomes more scared of her husband. Most telling though is Danny, who earlier in the film talked to a friend who lived in his finger named Tommy, and how it appears Tommy wants out, making Danny say "Redrum"over, and over again.

Either Danny is also going crazy, or there's more to Redrum then initially meets the eye. Though all these developments may sound corny on paper, the truth is they are built up very slowly. For the first two hours we follow a pleasant family around in this big house. Then, as Jack becomes more delusional and Danny more crazy, things start to unfold. If this movie was made today, Jack would become crazy and start killing off a group of stupid teenagers for two hours. Instead, Jack starts talking to ghosts. Then he starts shouting at his wife. Then we feel he is a threat to his family. When the violence finally hits at the end of the film it hits hard. It even features an image of Jack Nicholson that has become iconic.

What makes the violence the payoff is that we work our way towards it. The movie is not senseless violent, and its more about fear then killing. A twist at the end will make you question and rethink the whole experience of the movie, much in the same way the ending of "The Sixth Sense" forced a re-evaluation of that film. This is not a bad thing, but a good thing. This means that the film is about something. It's here to make you think. That you are entertained is a blessing, but the images, the words, and the silence are all working towards provoking certain feelings from you, and the story is deeper and more complicated then you might think at first. "The Shining" offers well thought out thrills, a complicated story, and a memorable ending. It truly is a classic.

Rating: **** stars

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More The Shining (1980 movie) reviews
review by . October 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Some of the best films are the ones which provoke us to return to their often questionable realms for a second coming, not long after we've tried to - or succeeded in - absorb every last bit of information that we possibly can. Perhaps we come back because we still have questions left unanswered, or maybe we just want to experience it all again. The places that I speak of are sometimes pleasant (the beach resort of "Mr. Hulot's Holiday"), and other times …
Quick Tip by . March 09, 2013
Shot for the title sequence of Stanley Kubrick's film adaption of The Shining, supererogatory footage of Montana's Glacier National Park was subsequently exploited by Ridley Scott to supplement the denouement of Blade Runner's theatrical cut. Actor Joe Turkel plays important roles in both pictures. Featured prominently in The Shining, Scatman Crothers had previously portrayed an orderly named Turkle in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, twice co-starring with leading man Jack Nicholson. …
Quick Tip by . January 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
While I still haven't chosen which Kubrick movie is my favorite, The Shining is easily one of my favorite movies ever.  Since I'm not one that's easy to scare, this movie is one of the extremely rare specimens that'll haunt me when I go to bed after watching it.  Even though all the acting is top-notch, it's Jack Nicholson that stole the show in this one because he was PERFECT as the isolated man on a descent into total madness.      Thanks to this …
review by . March 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An excersie in what isolation can do to the mind...
They say that sometimes when a person is isolated from other people  or things he or she is familiar  with  you start to slowly loose your mind, you start seeing things  that  aren't real, hearing voices in your head, walking nightmares. It is called Cabin Fever and In Stanley Kubrick's psychological horror thriller explores what happens when a recovering alcoholic ex-teacher (Jack Nicholson) starts to literally loose his mind   when isolated in a beautiful hotel …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Kubrick's classic adaption of Steven King's classic horror novel is errie and amazing to watch. Strays far from the source material in some places and drags on in scenes but it does help add to the tension of a family taking care of a mountain hotel and the father slowly going insane.
review by . November 08, 2009
Over the years Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" has become one of his most well known films, but only because either won't shut up about how it isn't close to the book at all (we hear you, and would invite you to stop reminding us now) or because people are often quick to jump up and say just how much the movie frightens them.  The "Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!" moment is perhaps one of the most quoted lines in Hollywood.  As I've said before, when it comes to movies being …
review by . May 06, 2009
The Shining was Stanley Kubrick's attempt to make a bona fide horror film. Despite the fact that he has never really directed one, he was infatuated with the project. He read the novel by Stephen King and set out to recreate the novel, his own way. What we get is a cold ans sterile film that resembles the original source material some what. We get a maniacal and crazed Jack Nicholson, a doormat Shelly Duvall and a minor actor/performer Scatman Crothers a shot a some big time acting. The actors were …
review by . December 30, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Duvall     Cons: the talking finger & cast speech patterns     The Bottom Line:   "Come on you raver, you seer of visions,   come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!"  ~Pink Floyd         Although The Shining is considered one of the classic horror movies and there is much to love about the film, there are also some glaring negatives as well.  That certainly …
review by . October 31, 2007
(4 1/2 *'s) After all these years, I hedged at the prospect of watching `The Shining`. Having seen the snippets of Jack Nicholson's skillful performance, I partly dismissed the movie. In my mind, thinking of his famous line, "Here's Johnny!" the film seemed a novelty, something entertaining in a way it wasn't intended. Between Stanley Kubrick's amazing direction and Nicholson's and Shelly Duvall's excellent performances, first impressions can be misleading. Watching `The Shining' is a real treat.   & …
review by . October 31, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Jack Nicholson is one of the world's great psycho actors     Cons: May make you paranoid     The Bottom Line: Here's Johnny! I love that.     Just what do you think of when you think of a haunted house? The stereotypical haunted house is little more than a large shack, very loosely boarded up with rotting wood, creaking floorboards and stairs, loose doors and a massive maze of codwebs. The ghosts that often haunt these places are …
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Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Ranked #127
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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About this movie


A horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick based upon the bestselling novel by Stephen King.

Opening with spectacular aerial shots of a beautiful, mountainous landscape, Stanley Kubrick's horror classic THE SHINING sucks the viewer into his frightening tale with quiet, relaxing visuals--but the ominous soundtrack warns that all is not right at the gorgeous Overlook Hotel. Based on Stephen King's best-selling novel, the film stars Jack Nicholson at his eyebrow-raising best in his portrayal of Jack Torrance, a Vermont schoolteacher working at the Overlook as a winter caretaker. The glorious early-20th century resort only operates in warm weather because the snowy roads deny access in the colder months, so Jack brings his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), with him, as well as his young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who possesses some unique psychic powers. As the Torrances settle in for the long, lonely months ahead, strange, unexplainable things start occurring in the hotel--and in every scene Jack seems to be growing a little more evil and dangerous.... <br> <br> Cinematographer John Alcott (who also wo...
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