The Shining (1980) Review

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Jack Torrence has just accepted a job to work as a caretaker at an isolated hotel for the winter. At first everything seems to be going well for the family, but when Danny starts to see things from the past and what will happen in the future it all takes a different turn.

The evil and spiritual presence that is affecting Jack also has a huge influence on Jack who starts to be very violent towards his young son and wife Wendy. I want to first admit that I have actually been a little bit scared to actually watch this film. I have had it on DVD for many years now in a Kubrick box set, but having watched A Clockwork Orange and heard that The Shining was extremely scary I have since found excuses to avoid it. Last week in celebrating of Jack Nicholson’s 80th birthday I decided that would therefore be the day I would watch it for the first time.

The best thing I can say about the film is that I was consumed by it, thought it was very impressive from start to finish and took some very sick twists and turns. An amazing performance from Nicholson and it really was not as scary as I was expecting. Certain moments are a little jumpy, but only because Kubrick has a very special way to build up the tension and suspense. Some of the scenes are truly breathtaking with the score working perfectly to help have you on the end of your seat even more.

I think it has ended up as one of those films that you have seen parts of even if you have not watched it all. I mean the twins and axe scenes are prime examples of this. A good thing to say is that these are not even the most powerful in the whole film, in my opinion. It really does have some incredible scenes, one of which I do believe took Kubrick a hell of a lot of takes to get right. So haunting and very strange at the same time, which certainly makes a good film to watch.

I found it interesting to find out after watching that Kubrick made sure Danny Lloyd was protected from knowing what the film was about whilst doing it. Something that must be so hard with a young child in a horror style film. You don’t want them to be totally terrified for life, a very impressive performance for someone of such a young age.

I can now say that I understand why so many people talk about this film and Jack Nicholson really does shine (see what I did there) from start to finish in this one. I have a feeling it is a film that I am going to have to revisit a few more times to really pick everything up. I mean that ending as well, what?!?!?!

How do you feel about this film? Or have you not actually seen it yet?

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16 thoughts on “The Shining (1980) Review

  1. What makes “The Shining” so great is the fact that the world’s greatest Director decided to take you inside the mind of madness – it’s not a “scary” movie like “Scream” or “Friday The 13th” – it’s a meditation on evil through the vision of Kubrick and Nicholson…as you say, it’s not “scary” as such…by the way, it’s also one of Nicholson’s most iconic roles…here are some more I put together to celebrate his 80th birthday – let me know what you think!

    https://johnrieber.com/2013/09/04/jack-nicholson-retires-his-greatest-roles-my-jack-moment/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading this. Glad you gave the film a shot! 😊 Stanley Kubrick is a master at visual storytelling, and The Shining remains my favourite horror film of all-time today. I was 14 when I first saw it. The iconic scene with the twins terrified me!

    Liked by 1 person

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