Nearly thirty years after we first saw Jack Nicholson hack his way through the toilet door, 'The Shining' continues to put the frighteners viewers old and new. I've watched this film a couple of times, and even though I now know exactly what's coming and where, it still sends an uneasy chill up my spine. It's downright disturbing, is what it is.
This timeless horror stars Nicholson as a struggling novelist who, along with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd), takes a job as winter caretaker in an apparently empty hotel. The fact that's it's the scene of a previous grisly murder and built on an Indian burial ground should set alarm bells ringing, but it seems there's only one person willing to point out how bad an idea the whole thing is. And that's Tony, the gruff-voiced "imaginary" friend who talks through Danny's finger. Suffice to say, they should all have listened to the kid's finger.
Nicholson's display in this is quite simply superb. His gradual descent into outright madness seems slightly unfounded, but there's a strange credibility to his performance that makes such logic seem almost irrelevant.
Director Stanley Kubrick but brings to the story his own brand of visual perfection. Long shots down endless corridors underline the sheer size of the hotel, whilst rapid cuts to an increasing array of ghostly apparitions are unnerving in a way few films have been able to match since.
If Kubrick's intention is to unsettle the viewer, then his film's got its objective down to a tee. The film is riddled with perplexities yet taking your eyes off it is virtually impossible.
One of the horror genre's finest, this isn't a film to watch if you're about to spend the winter alone in a hotel Full of ghosts and axes.