Updated date:

The Shining (1980) Film Review

Infatuated with the realm of cinema, and I am a writer, that's what I am!


Review: The Shining

Redrum, Here's Johnny, Danny Boy and All work and no play makes Jack a Dull Boy.

Yesterday was the 2nd coming of "The Shining" in my life and It was way more exciting than the first one in terms of psychology to understand "Jack Torrence", the mystery of supernatural events at "Overlook Hotel" and the special gift of "Danny Torrence" which helped him throughout the film.


Kubrick vs Stephan King: who was the ultimate winner?

Loosely based on Stephan King's 1977 novel of the same name "The Shining" was a psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1980 with mixed reviews but over the years acclaimed a cult status among the audience of the world.

The film was very different from the novel, so much that Stephen King has expressed his dislike towards it many times, and it's understandable. Kubrick asked for freedom to change whatever he wanted, and he wasn't kidding. Although King didn't oppose to that at the time, he wasn't expecting Kubrick to go as far as to change the essence of the book. Because of that, the novel and the film are two very different entities, and details that are explained or at least easier to interpret in the novel are either not included or left very ambiguous in the film.

Kubrick has co-written this film with the novelist Diane Johnson and made it a film full of metaphors and interpretations.


Metaphors and Interpretations:

The story was solid and full of interpretation and different scenes of the film equally supported it.

The most memorable scene of the film was blood coming from the elevator, It was shown to Danny through the ability of shining when jack got the job, so whose blood it was? It was shown at different intervals, with the strong force. According to the manager of the hotel, the overlook hotel was built at Indian Burial Ground, so maybe it was the blood of those buried Indians, maybe their souls are trapped in the hotel which makes caretakers go haywire.

The other iconic scenes were Grady Twins and how they informed Danny about "Redrum" which actually means, and then Danny told his mother that something terrible is happening to them.

And the most famous and debatable was the last scene, an open ending, how Jack ended up in that photograph, is he was reincarnated? There are different theories about it and I want to listen to yours. Let my insight into your theory.


Acting Performances:

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence was one of the finest examples to interpret the drastic effects of isolation and how it manipulates human psychology to lead it's astray. Kubrick developed the character intelligently, he was alcoholic, abusive, and intolerant, Nicholson pulled it off with ease, his violent eyes and smiles linger devil on his back. He was cyclical and his performance, a spectacle of physical and psychological abuse. Aham physical abuse, rewatch the scene of that an old man with a bear, It was a revelation that Danny was sexually abused by his father and in defense of this he found tony as his imaginary friend.

Shelly Duvall, with an average body and face, played a most strong and iron-willed character of a woman in the horror genre. Her character ability to cope with violence and abuse was marvelously shown by a woman and she strongly justified it.

Danny Lloyd as "Danny Torrence" was great, he is the best child artist ever in a horror psychological drama when he acted under as autohypnotic "Tony" was the best part.

The rest of the cast justified to their respective parts.


Cinematography & Music:

Cinematography and Music were the back core of this film and to support my this point of review I would like to give you the example of the opening sequence, and the hedge maze sequence or the Grady Twins sequence, there are countless scenes, in fact, every scene defines the mastery of cinematographer and music director.

Wendy Carlos recorded a soundtrack which is hauntingly beautiful, the opening theme of the film gives you goosebumps.

Last Word:

The Shining is one of the best psychological horror films in the history of cinema.

It has the devil work of Nicholson and metaphors and interpretations of Kubrick.

It has the iron will of Shelly Duval and "Shining" the gift of Danny Lloyd.

It has violence, abuse, sexual abuse, and a deteriorated human psyche and a concept that what a time period of isolation can do to you If you don't control your mind though Jack was always the dull boy.


The Shinning 1980

Related Articles