The Shining

February 22, 2009
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The Shining, a 1980 horror film based on the Stephen King novel, has gradually become one of the most well-regarded suspense movies of all time. The premise is that a drunkard, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), has lost his post as a teacher due to his alcohol issues. Jack cleans up his act, but is still, alas, jobless. Luckily for him, a nearby hotel, The Overlook, is looking for a winter caretaker. The catch? The aforementioned caretaker will be there alone with his or her family, no one else included. To fan the flames even more, the hotel is located in the remote Colorado Rockies, and inhabitants will not be able to access any town until the snow melts. Of course, Jack accepts and drags his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), up to the Overlook.
The more I think about it, the more The Shining reminds me of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. A family gets unlimited access to a hotel and, of course, is free to wreak havoc. But a happy-go-lucky, tweeny-bopper Disney channel film it's not. Far from it, actually. With its graphic images, creepy plotline, and unexpected scares, The Shining is definitely not a good match for children and tweens. However, for more mature viewers, those frightening elements are what make The Shining so interesting.
Personally, I had been dying to see The Shining for a pretty long time. When I finally got the chance to watch it one Halloween with a friend, I jumped at it. Being a suspense movie aficionado, I was definitely thrilled to see how good the much-lauded film really was. I was not disappointed. From the moment the movie began, the otherworldly score effectively emphasized frightening points in the movie, and even created suspense in otherwise calm scenes. Truthfully, the movie itself is not that horrifying, since it suffers from what I like to call 'eighties-special-effects-itis', but it hits you on a psychological level, which is even more important, in my opinion. The highlight of the movie for me was the actors, especially Jack Nicholson. Nicholson swaggers around the hotel like a rooster who thinks he's king of the barnyard, but shows a softer side with his son, Danny. The way he portrays his character's descent into madness is mindboggling. Shelley Duvall (Wendy) and Danny Lloyd (Danny) are shoved to the side a bit to allow room for Nicholson's trademark overacting, but they still provide great complements. Duvall does well playing the damsel-in-distress, and Lloyd nicely strikes a line between being completely adorable and utterly creepy.
In the end, I loved The Shining. It is a well-made film with especially great cinematography (sweeping Colorado vistas, spasmodic scene changes to convey a sense of madness, etc.) While it is not exactly a scary film, be prepared for some surprises. Not everybody enjoys The Shining either. Many find its abrupt scene changes and utter randomness a bit disorienting. However, if you enjoy movies that make you think while freaking you out, I highly recommend it.

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Eyebrow said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 11:05 am
The Shining is a really good movie! The one part I don't like is how they play that music almost the whole time. I didn't understand the part where the guy is in the dog suit at all! Then, I read the book and it made sense now, but I don't think that part should in the movie for the people who haven't read the book. Jack Nickolson did an awesome job acting out his part, and he's really good at the creepy grin!
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