The Shining a cinematic masterpiece from the visionary Director Stanley Kubrick. The movie has been claimed by many as the greatest horror movie made, but is it really.
Is the movie as scary as The Exorcist? No, not really. The Movie isn’t scary; it is terrifying to watch. The Shining does what Horror movies now are either too afraid to do or do not really care. It builds up the atmosphere and the story and then give back a thrilling dive into psyche of the characters.
The Shining stars Jack Nicholson as ‘Jack Torrance’, a struggling writer who takes a job as an off’season care taker at the isolated Overlook hotel. His son Danny loyd (Danny Torrance)has special ability that the movie calls ‘The Shining’. After setteling in the family gets trapped there in a snow storm and jack gradually become influenced by the Overlook Hotel.
If you haven’t watched the movie do not read further as i am going to discuss some plot point which will spoil the movie for you.
Here is What I think about The Shining.
As the movie starts we are shown beautiful aerial shot of mountains and a car travelling down a winding road with unsettling soundtrack blaring. The scene creates an unsettling start to the movie. It tells you that something wrong is going to happen further down the road and then we are intorduced to the most important character of the movie, The Overlook Hotel. What Stanley Kubrick was most successful was creating very strong characters out of Stephen King’s Original Novel of the same name. The Overlook hotel is shown to us in its whole grandeur from the outside and as well as the inside. But as the film progresses we realize that something is wrong with the hotel. The architecture and floor plan changes multiple times in the movie giving the hotel an out of this world look. Jack Nicholson’s character is introduced and the hotel’s manager in his job interview explains a very important plot point. That a tragedy happened in the hotel in 1970 when a caretaker named ‘Charles Grady’, suffered a mental breakdown, chopped his twin daughters and then shot himself using a shotgun. Back in city Danny, jack’s son has a strange vision of the hotel and we are introduced to his abilities of his ability to ‘shine’ well explained by chef of the hotel Halloraan.
All this creates an unsettling atmosphere throughout the movie. It has a bone chilling effect on the viewer. When Danny has his visions there is no loud sound effect. In fact there is no sound at all, which makes it more unsettling. The movie does not depend on jump scares. It scares you to a different level. The shots in the hotel are shot beautifully with wide angle long shots. Which increases the grandeur of the hotel.
This is when what you were thinking of a normal horror cabin movie it changes. The movie becomes a perfect Psychological thriller movie, perhaps if i may be so bold, the best out there. As we delve deeper into Jack’s character we see a history of abuse and struggling relationship, a looming tension between husband and wife and the son having to keep an imaginary friend to keep his ability away.
The movie shifts tone from thriller to horror and back to thriller perfectly and the Hotel creates a perfect backdrop to it. There is a reason i said that the hotel was a character, because it actually is, the room 237, the hallway, the haunted elevator passageway. These are not haunted by people. It is the Hotel that ‘shines’ like Danny do. And just as Danny can encounter or see or do things in Future or past. The hotel repeats the past it plays to the perfect possessed character in a horror movie.
The Ballroom scene proves that all the things that are happening have already happened or happen regularly. The scene involving twins will scare you to death, the scene with river of blood will get to you.
But the thing that will terrify you to no end and will unnerve you is Jack’s trip from a loving father to a mindless psycho who can chop his family into pieces. The scene involving typewriter and the line
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
will grow under your skin.
The movie is what every psychological-horror-thriller should be. Watch the movie and take a trip deep down Despair which will suck you inside depression and solitude.
The Movie gets 9/10
If i would have time and mood, I will analyse this film further and talk about the striking and haunting ending with the photo and Jack’s travel in time. But that is for some other time.
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