Festive (ish) Film: The Shining (1980) Review

4/5* Shiv’s Show | Siobhan Divers

Dir: Stanley Kubrick

119 mins

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd

There’s murder, insanity, a haunted hotel and supernatural visions – it’s the ultimate horror film!

(also its set during winter and has snow scenes so I’ve added it to my festive film collection)

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicolson) accepts a position at the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. As the winter caretaker, Jack moves into the hotel with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Lloyd).

The hotel has a violent history though and this can be re-lived and seen by people who possess ‘the shining’ – psychic abilities which allow them to see into the past – as well as people who have gone insane.

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’

It’s hard to describe the brilliance of the film without just saying – watch it.

From the suddenness of the onscreen titles and the flashes of the past to the great writing, brilliant shots and Danny’s voice in his head, the film is unforgettable.

It’s chilling and immersive and a good old-school horror – the horror is created from psychological fear using suspense and tension rather than jump-scares and gore – which are key features of some newer horror films.

And while the film is eerie from start to finish, there’s nothing more unnerving than the ending which answers some questions while raising some too.

An iconic film and a horror masterpiece, The Shining is well-cast (despite what other reviewers have said) – Jack Nicolson does a frighteningly good job at playing the alcoholic, writer who gradually loses his mind – has some scenes of pure horror and is a great film adaption of a classic novel.

‘Here’s Johnny!’

If you liked this, please read, like and comment on my other reviews here.

I also have a Letterboxd account where I post some short reviews of the most recent films I’ve seen.

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