Wednesday, October 14

Blind Spot: The Shining

Horror flicks are not my forte, they never were and they never will be. However, October's always been the spooky month, so why watch a scary film that I've been putting off because of its genre? The Shining is one of the most talked about horror films in the century. There are so many iconic scenes in this that it's impossible to go in blind. Despite knowing a thing or two about it, it still managed to scare me - The Shining is wickedly good.

Having left his teaching job, Jack Torrance accepted a caretaker job at an isolated hotel in the mountains, bringing his family along with him. However, his son showed reluctance to their temporary move, visions of horror flooding his mind. It's immediately established that the boy has some kind of talent, manifested through his 'imaginary friend'. Nevertheless, the family moves into the hotel, and as they lived there, strange things started to happen. 

The first few minutes of the film already lays down the groundwork of the entire run - the story of the previous caretaker, Danny's talent, and a hint of what one might possibly encounter in the film. The storytelling was direct, though it uses details that leaves things to interpretation. Not like all movies, a lot of theories surround the film - from the photograph, the ghosts, the room, - pretty much everything that Kubrick throws on the screen. I spent some time researching on these theories after watching the film - the interpretations certainly vary, though as of now, I'm taking this film in face value. I'd have to give the film multiple viewings for further understanding of these theories.

What I agree with is that the whole film is about the breakdown of man's psyche, as evidence by the madness Jack goes through during their stay. It may have been the case of the cabin fever, as there were really no indications that a screw was slowly turning loose, until the scene in the bar. He was conversing with said ghosts, indicating his descent to madness. Whereas at the latter part of the film, Wendy too began seeing figures. Instead of allowing herself to be drawn into the madness, she runs away. She refuses to get sucked into the world that her husband lived in, and instead thought about the safety of her son.

Jack Nicholson was very good as Jack Torrance - his monologue when he was threatening Wendy floored me. He really had command of the screen, and had improved his performance once the latter half of the film started rolling in. Danny Lloyd was quite the child actor as well; his performance wasn't campy or unrealistic. The kid could definitely go on scaring people. It was Shelley Duvall whom I had a bit of a problem with. Despite showing emotions on cue, it was kind of difficult to buy to her performance as she looked a bit apathetic as well. 

The scenes were also filmed well - the tracking shot of Danny in his trike was excellent, and the framing manages to capture the grandeur of the set, not to mention the reactions of the cast as the film progressed. Despite being a horror film, it was oddly vibrant; the color schemes were rich, and the place was well-lit. The music also set tone to the atmosphere of the film; I found myself shutting my eyes when I know something horrific was about to happen.

It left me with a few unexplained questions, though some pointed out that these were discussed in Stephen King's book, so I will look into that. All in all, it was a fantastic, thrilling film that does manage to scare first time viewers. It also merits multiple viewings, though I have yet to see if the scare factor is still evident.



Final Word: Worth of its iconic status.

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Year: 1980

14 comments:

  1. Really glad you liked this one. It's truly a great movie. BTW, it made a list I just did...

    http://dellonmovies.blogspot.com/2015/10/pointless-lists-13-greatest-haunted.html

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    1. Glad to see the movie rank high up on the list. I haven't seen a lot of those you mentioned, I'm not a fan of the genre.

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  2. I actually caught this for the very first time in theaters a couple years back, and it terrified me! Definitely worth experiencing on the big screen if you get a chance. It's such an ultimate classic...I need to re-watch this one. That woman in the bathroom creeps the hell out of me...was NOT expecting that level of creepiness...

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    1. I was not expecting the woman in the bathroom scene at all. That really was creepy!

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  3. Glad you liked it! This was always one of my favorites too. I wore out my crappy VHS of this when I was a teenager. lol

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    1. This film was really good, no wonder it's iconic!

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  4. YASSSS!!!

    Nicholson was ROBBED of an Oscar nom for this. Like, he's truly terrifying!

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    1. Nicholson was great. His performance started out on a slow burn but it really hits home when the time comes.

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  5. A true classic.Jack Nicholson's performance is one of those performances that stays with you. Perfectly crazy and completely menacing

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    1. He was really good, one of his best roles I'd say.

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  6. I nearly watched this for BS this month but I decided to postpone it for some reason. I hope I'll like it too! 9 is an almost perfect score

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    1. I hope you do like it! I wasn't sure if I was going to get scared since I already know what happens, but knowing the details doesn't take the chills out from the film.

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  7. For me, The Shining gets better with every viewing. I think that's something I can say about pretty much every Kubrick film I've seen.

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