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George At 

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Featured Movie Reviews

The Shining

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Rarely has a movie generated so much suspense and dread for the viewer as Stanley Kubrick's 1980 hit, THE SHINING.

Jack Nicholson is Jack Torrance, a frustrated writer who takes on a job as winter caretaker for the massive, isolated Overlook Hotel.

When the manager (Barry Nelson) advises him as part of his orientation that the last caretaker killed his wife and children, chopping them up with an axe before killing himself, Torrance raises the classic Nicholson brow and says, 'Don't worry, that's not going to happen again."

Shelley Duvall oozes awkward and lack of confidence as his wife Wendy and young Danny Lloyd is great as their son Danny, who has quite a gift for "shining" or picking up the vibes of places or people long past.

It's not long after they are alone and the snow starts to block them in that the spirits of the Overlook begin to make their presence known.

The strong sense of foreboding that Kubrick creates builds throughout the movie, culminating in some now classic movie moments, including the woman in the bathtub in room 237, the twin girls who would like Danny to come play with them "forever and ever" and the last 30 minutes as the madness reaches full crescendo.

Nicholson is fantastic here, over the top certainly, but the arc from insecure teacher and frustrated writer to full tilt madness is a lot of fun to watch.

As usual, Kubrick chooses some very scary orchestral pieces to accent his action and the music score is one of the scariest parts of the film, from the brilliant opening shots behind the credits to the final jolt of music.

One of my favorite horror films.

For fun, check out the TV remake from 1997 with Stephen Weber, it's better than you might think and was executive produced by Stephen King, who notably does NOT like Kubrick's vision of his novel.

For me, The Shining is a frightening, suspenseful, brilliantly directed winner and gets a blood soaked A+ and a spot in my all-time Top 100.

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