The Shining
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Year: 1980
TRT: 2:24

Reviewed: 4/27/03

Classic horror at some of its finest. Kubrick takes some liberties with the original story, but for the most part it works pretty well. As with most adaptations with book to film, some of the material needs to be trimmed to fit in the whole story. The part where the translation kind of suffers is the ending, but as a stand-alone film it will definitely have you pretty creeped out. Stellar performance by Jack Nicholson, a nice turn by Scatman Crothers as the concerned cook, and the performance by the kid (Danny Lloyd) is actually not painful to watch (as it was with the kid who starred in the mini-series). Shelley Duvall does a good job as the meek wife, but I dunno, she can get a bit annoying as well, but I guess that's just part of her character, as well.

An ex-school teacher with a history of alcoholism takes the job of a caretaker of a remote Colorado resort for the winter, taking his wife and son with him. Being isolated for several months alone has a detrimental effect on Jack as well as his son, who has a special ability to see things. Because of the nature of the Overlook Hotel and some bad things that have occurred there in the past, the son Danny is filled with fear as he begins to witness more and more odd visions in the seemingly dormant hotel.

As you may or may not know, a mini-series was also done that sticks a lot closer to the original story from the book. While Steven Weber played a decent Jack Torrance, it's hard to compete with such a memorable performance by Nicholson. Plus whoever played the kid was almost unbearably annoying. If you want to get more in depth into the history behind The Overlook, the mini-series does that well. But it wasn't nearly as scary as Kubrick's version, which is also filmed with some great cinematography. Interesting note: Denver news talent Bertha Lynn actually reprises her role of television anchorwoman from the original in the mini-series remake.

Great Scene: It's between the scene that still really creeps me out (and very few things do), where Danny is riding around the Hotel and comes across the 2 daughters, and Jack's stark-raving mad tirade as he's pounding down the bathroom door with an axe. Nice attention to detail as the camera follows the motion of the axe with each swing.

Media Notes: Besides the trailer, this Warner Bros. Standard Format DVD includes a decent 30 minute documentary by Vivian Kubrick. It's amusing to hear Danny Lloyd, who plays the son, on how much money he thinks he made on the film. Some nice footage also of the set for the hedge maze and Jack, well, just being Jack.


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