Movie Throwbacks: The Shining (1980)

Emily Lewicki, Entertainment Editor

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Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Genre: Thriller/Drama film

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Running time: 2 hr 40 min.

    In his thriller film The Shining, Stanley Kubrick shows the true effects of psychological madness that one can undertake when in severe isolation. Although its setting may seem like one of a typical horror story, the plot proves to be one like no other horror film.

  Protagonist Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer, takes the position as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, an isolated resort located in the Colorado Rockies. He brings along with him his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their five year old son Danny (Danny Lloyd) who has telepathic abilities that are unknown to his parents. Upon going, Mr. Torrance is warned of the “cabin fever” that the former caretaker developed, causing him to murder his family as well as himself. Mr. Torrance reassures that this will not happen to himself or his family upon staying at the Overbrook.   Upon their arrival, Danny has recurring visions and terrors of ghosts that haunt the hotel. Wendy contemplates on leaving Jack at the hotel, and to take Danny and herself home, but Danny refuses. Over time, Jack develops cabin fever and becomes easily agitated with his wife and son, hoping to kill them. The arctic weather and freezing temperatures prevent Wendy and Danny from escaping. When Jack attempts to kill them, Wendy and Danny lock him inside of a pantry, but he escapes and further attempts to kill Wendy and get Danny. Jack reaches the hotel room where Wendy locks herself in the bathroom, and tries to escape through the window. Danny escapes through the window, but she is unable to. Jack breaks the door to the bathroom with a mallet, but Wendy slashes his arm in defense, with her and Danny fleeing with Dick Hallorann, the head chef of Overlook and their rescuer, leaving Jack to die from the arctic freeze, his psychological madness never resolved.

  The Shining proves itself to be one of Kubrick’s most horrific and spine-tingling films, as it consistently engages the audience to know that something is or will go wrong in the plot. The movie does not only rely on its terrifying images, but as well as the spot-on cinematography and the music, directed by Bela Bartok. The mood is instantly set for the audience as a dark and gory setting of isolation and madness, and prepares the audience for the scare of a lifetime. Each of the performances done by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall are spot on, depicting the mad father and husband, and the worrying mother who tries to save her son. Perhaps the most captivating character of the cast is Danny. (Danny Lloyd) His compelling telepathic forces are more powerful than both of his parents imagined, with him seeing images of the past events in the hotel that his parents could not see. He is too powerful to be possessed by the demons of the hotel, therefore Jack is struck with madness instead. Children always perceive more than adults expect, and the choice to portray the youngest and most gullible character as the most powerful and psychic character of them all is genius.

     Overall, I would highly recommend this movie. If you are looking for a good scare or just an old horror film to rewind, this horror film has components of psychosis and isolation, along with the gory scenes that stay with you after watching the movie, that no other horror film can compare itself to.

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Movie Throwbacks: The Shining (1980)