13 days into October already and I somehow have yet to watch a Stanley Kubrick film or a Stephen King adaptation. Tonight’s review can at least knock both off those off the list, with The Shining, as the poster says a masterpiece of modern horror. I was probably WAY too young the first time I was exposed to this movie, and The Simpsons helped with that, but man does this still hold up as a benchmark for horror.
A family travels to the abandoned Overlook hotel for the winter, and the chaos just begins upon their arrival. Jack Torrance played by Jack Nicholson is a struggling writer who’s definitely frustrated with his life and family consisting of Wendy played by Shelley Duvall and Danny played by Danny Lloyd. What starts off as steady isolation from his family, turns into delusions, psychosis, and something truly evil for Jack. While on the other hand Danny experiences visions from both past and future that Hallorann played by Scatman Crothers explains to him is a supernatural ability called the Shining. As his visions become more intense, and Jack’s possession by evil becomes more demanding, and his thirst for blood increases, everyone in the Overlook is in danger this cold deserted winter.
A true measure of how a film really is, is how it holds up against time and if it still manages to pack the same punch as when it first did. The Shining is forty-one years old, and is still as genuinely terrifying as it ever was. There is nothing in the Shining that anything since can hold a candle to, in comparison, it truly feels like one of a kind. This movie is built entirely on supernatural suspense and brilliant performances which have cemented it in history as one of the great horror movies of the century. The performance that Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall deliver throughout truly is what makes this movie the masterpiece it is. Genuine terror that can be heard worlds away with iconic imagery of Nicholson’s head through the door manage to still haunt people to this day.
The Shining is a rare example of a horror film that absolutely delivers on all fronts and manages to continue to supersede the test of time. Like a fine wine, The Shining gets better with age. Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining manages to bring a new light to this horror, and with that it further cements and elevates The Shining as the modern masterpiece it truly is.