Hello all and welcome back to another week of Adam’s Film Friday. For this week’s review, I will be reviewing one of my favorite genres of films: horror. This week’s choice is the classic horror film The Shining, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. This film provides chills, thrills, and even a scream or two.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a retired school teacher and now author, gets a job over the winter to be the watchman of a hotel that is closed for the season. He moves his family, wife Wendy (Shelly Duval) and young son Danny (Danny Lloyd), to this secluded hotel to live in from October until May, when the hotel will open up again. Danny has ESP, and begins to have terrible premonitions and visions about what will happen to the family at the hotel, particularly regarding room 237. Everything seems to be going perfectly fine until Jack begins to slowly unravel as the months of seclusion start to get to him. He begins to see ghosts in different locations, mainly the bar (Jack is a recovering alcoholic), and repeats the mantra “All work, no play makes Jack a dull boy”, until he snaps. Will Danny’s premonitions prove to be true, or will the family not make it out of the hotel alive?
The Shining was a horror film masterpiece, all the way from the acting performances to the brilliant direction of Stanley Kubrick and the music. One of the greatest shots is in the very beginning of the film where Jack is going to the inn for his initial interview. It is an aerial view of his car going up the mountain and around the curves of the cliffs. It was just a beautiful shot and an eerie way to start the film. Stanley Kubrick had a way of making every shot count, and filmed everything in such a way that made the film have a lot of these gorgeous shots that make you think that just maybe you weren’t watching a horror film. Kubrick often showed the full size of a room or a hallway in his shots, making the viewer feel that he/she was right there with the characters. It made for a creepy experience for most of the film. He also used music very well, adding to the suspense of the film and playing off of the character’s emotions.
The acting MUST be discussed as well. Jack Nicholson was pure psychotic genius in this role. As the film progresses, you see his character break down and slowly lose his sanity. As a viewer watching this you truly feel like Jack Nicholson has also lost his mind. As his character loses touch with reality, you see Nicholson’s mannerisms change bit by bit. In the beginning he accurately portrays a man who is very excited about the job he has, but at the end he has all the touches of someone who has truly lost his mind. Danny Lloyd was a very strong performer as the son Danny, and I truly think his voice chanting “red rum” will haunt my dreams for the next month. He did very well despite the mature subject matter of the film, and in my opinion was a lot stronger than most child actors of the day.
All and all I thought the film was really well done. From the strong performances, to the beautiful direction, to the eerie music, this is a film that people should watch every Halloween to get them in the mood. Like always I leave you with a question: do you believe that all work and no play makes someone snap?
Until next time, happy viewing.
4 out of 5 stars