2/21/11

THE SHINING - REVIEW


Why The King didn't appreciate this will always mistify me. Stanley Kubrick's Stephen King adaptation remains one of the best and most genuinely "haunting" (pun intended and instantly regretted) horror films ever made.
 

Time hasn't been particularly kind to 70's horror films with the likes of The Omen and The Exorcist now feeling dated and hardly impressive in any way. But right on the cusp of the 80's, The Shining still holds up very well, although it's hard to take Danny speaking to his finger too seriously.

At the heart of the film is a towering performance by Jack Nicholson, who can do crazy like no other (yes, Nic Cage is a close second) and joyfully cranks up the loon-o-meter to 11. Shelley Duvall was criticised for being too hysterical throughout but, to be honest, anyone not very good with handling stress would be lost in such a huge setting with a psycho husband running loose and such a weird kid...speaking in crazy voices. She's actually pretty convincing and Kubrick's genuine on-set outbursts probably helped to keep her on edge constantly.

The supporting cast is also pretty unforgettable: Scatman Crothers' odd but good-hearted old caretaker, Joe Turkel's enigmatic barman, the quietly disturbed and manipulative butler...it's all good. Kubrick's vast hotel is also a star: its space and decoration a masterpiece of art direction behind which every corner, every door lurks something disturbing and frankly...not very nice.

Overall, this is as perfect as a horror film is ever likely to get. Don't really expect any jump out of your seat moments but the constant dark, unsettling mood is definitely worth it. A true classic.

Oh and the last bit with the picture...still don't get it. 


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