To me, this film is not a horror film in the traditional sense, nor do I think Stanley Kubrick intended it to be either. What this film is however, is a masterwork of camera angles and the mise-en-scène. You feel the dread from the start and it never lets up, over the top though, it is.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) brings his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) to look after the Overlook Hotel in the off-season, which means that it’s just the three of them alone. Did I mention that it’s built on an ancient Native American burial ground? As the snow builds outside, Jack spirals down into insanity, just like the previous caretaker who murdered his family before killing himself. Can Wendy and her son escape before it’s too late?
I’m going to be tarred and feathered for saying this, but I found this movie hilarious. Every time Jack Nicholson appears on the screen, I crack up. He’s not an actor for understated performances and in this one, especially when he becomes foaming at the mouth insane, later on in the film. I think everyone has seen the “Here’s Johnny!” scene, so let’s talk about that one. He’s like a loony tune in that scene; I half expected to see Porky Pig at the end saying “That’s all folks!”.
Now you might think that I hate this film. I do not. There are some genuinely creepy scenes in the movie, it’s just that I feel Kubrick went a bit over the top with his vision of what Jack was supposed to be. He’s supposed to be a normal guy that is driven insane. What you get instead is an already insane man going nuts. With Jack Nicholson you can see it happening from a mile, nay light-years, away. It gets in the way of the horror aspect if I’m laughing half the time. The Shining is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.