Director – Stanley Kubrick
Cast – Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Release Year – 1980
Reviewed by John of the Dead
If you are any true fan of the horror genre, then this film needs no introduction. This critically acclaimed Stephen King adaptation is magnificent, as are most of Stanley Kubrick’s films. This film is about a man and his family who agree to watch and be “caretakers” for a luxury hotel that is closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall. The man is a writer so the peace and solitude that come with being snowed in for a few months is a perfect combination for him.
Right from the beginning we are shown that the son has psychic powers that not only allow him to “shine”, but he can see traumatic events that happened in the past and also will happen in the near future. After being cooped up in the hotel for a while, evil spiritual forces lurking in the hotel begin to have their effect on the father. He becomes easily aggravated, he is always distraught about something, and finally the forces in the hotel force him to go on a murdering rampage.
What I really liked about this film was the atmosphere. Kubrick incorporated such great visual shots of the empty hotel, always making us feel creeped and untrusting towards anything in this movie. Jack Nicholson’s performance was amazing as usual. He just seems to have a knack for playing these kind of “off” characters(his character in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest reminds me of his character in this movie). I especially loved the “bathtub” scene involving the old woman. WOW. Im really surprised they got away with showing all that given this film was released back in 1980. That scene will stick in your head for the rest of your life, I promise.
I do however wish that Shelley Duvall would have acted better in this movie, right from the beginning I was somewhat annoyed by her acting. Upon further research I discovered that she actually won a “Razzie” for her role in this film. Figures. This movie can be a tad big slow at times(its almost 2 and a half hours long) but the mystery in this film will keep you intrigued during slow scenes. There are not very many kills in this movie, which let me down a little bit. You always assume that a well known horror flick would have lots of kills right? Well, this one doesn’t. However, I believe this film more about atmosphere and story than about outright brutality(until Jack finally goes berserk towards the end).
Overall, this is a great film that I definitely recommend that you watch, but only if you’ve got the time to sit back and watch it in its entirety.