Review: The Shining (1980)

The SHining Poster

“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”
– Dick Hollorann

Ah, an oldie but a goodie. I got this for Christmas as a gift from my colleague. She was so worried that I would have it (being a favourite of mine and all of that), that she went as far as to fish around at what titles I already have in my collection. Anyhow, I geared up for this over the holiday, and again, adored it.

I read The Shining, too, and I own it. The book is fantastic (as only Stephen King can effortlessly produce), and the movie is brilliant, too, although the movie is not quite nearly the same as the book, which is okay. And it is okay because Stanley Kubrick took the skeleton of the film and made it his own, and he did it well.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as the winter caretaker at the desolate Overlook Hotel, and takes his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) to stay with him. He views the job as a great opportunity to continue working on his novel, as the job is rather simple, but he is warned that the isolation often gets to people, and that there was a rather gruesome incident years ago with one of the other winter caretakers, Delbert Grady (Philip Stone). The story is that the isolation got to Delbert, and he hacked up and slaughtered his wife, two daughters and then offed himself.

the shining girls murdered

Wendy and Danny are not overly keen on moving into a hotel for the long winter, but Jack is struggling, and they support him. They are awed at the sheer size of the hotel, and the family is sure that they will be fine. Danny uses his “gift”, called “The Shining” by the chef, Dick Hollorann (Scatman Crothers), and sees the bloody past of the hotel resurfacing. Jack, meanwhile, slips into an insanity caused by cabin fever, and eventually loses the plot altogether when he is convinced by a waiter that his family needs “correcting”. Danny’s gift is more important now than ever as he tries desperately to reach out to the only other person he knows to possess the same abilities as he does: Dick Hollorann.

The Shining scores 8/10 as it is one of those proper classics. This film was incredibly well executed, and the actors were great for their roles. Jack Nicholson, as always, nailed the part of a demented soul, and Wendy, for all her sniveling,  got the part of terrified wife down damn well. I think that this is most definitely a must-see movie for anyone, whether you are into the genre or not.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Shining (1980)

  1. I would almost go as far as to say that the book and the film can’t be compared. They are both great but they are so different. Did you know SK himself didn’t like the movie because it deviated too much from the original story?


    • I can completely understand that he would feel that way! That is why I try not to think Stephen King’s The Shining when I watch the film, otherwise that might get you that the skeleton is similar, but the content not at all.


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