Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone, Joe Turkel
The recent documentary Room 237 has reignited interest in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's haunted-house masterpiece The Shining. That doc spins increasingly wild theories about the complexity of Kubrick's film, turning the work into a maze for the viewer to get lost in, much like Jack Nicholson's character in the film itself. It's great that Room 237 exists, if only to bring more people to The Shining, but truly the film doesn't need it. After all, there's no better place to get lost than in the long corridors of Kubrick's only horror movie.
The premise remains just as creepy as it did in 1980: A man (Nicholson) accepts a job as the winter caretaker of a massive hotel in Colorado, and moves his family (Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd) there just as the cold sets in among the mountains. But the hotel is the source of great evil.
Whether you want to read the violence as symbolism for the Native Amercan genocide, the Holocaust, or the irrational misogyny of the world, well, that's up to you. You won't have a choice but to be afraid. The music, culled mostly from dissonent 20th century classical, conspires so tightly with the smooth tracking shots and powerful images (the hemorrhaging elevator, the twins) that only one response is possible: you succumb. —RS