Now I personally am not a big fan of horror movies in which actual ghosts are picturized and blatantly paraded around on the screen, ie, I am not a big believer in the stereotypical ghost which walks around houses haunting them and its residents. This being said, there are a few movies which I really liked which do have ghosts walking around the house scaring the stuffing out of its inhabitants, and trust me, The Shining stands out on top of this particular list of movies.
Jack Nicholson, in the role of a lifetime pretty much shows how the paranormal and ghosts in particular can drive an already edgy character completely over the edge and ruin his life and that of others around him. The story starts off slow where Jack, a struggling writer, takes the job of the caretaker of winter caretaker of a hotel which gets completely snowed in. Jack’s son, Danny has a special ability where he can see and feel paranormal beings (read ghosts and spirits), which simply adds to the fear-fest that this movie actually is. The first few days when Jack, Wendy and Danny move into the Overlook Hotel are good, when they enjoy the facilities of the hotel and Jack gets to work on completing his latest manuscript.
However, things start going wrong when Danny drives his tricycle past Room 237. This is the room where the movie brings out its true colors. When Danny comes out of the room injured and visibly traumatized, the audience learns more about Jack’s alcoholism and how he has injured Danny in the past due to his violent behavior. This particular incident begins Jack’s descent into insanity and mental turmoil. What transpires in the rest of the movie is something that would be better seen on the screen rather than read about here.
This movie features Jack Nicholson in probably the role of a lifetime, with him portraying the manner in which a reasonably normal person is driven to complete insanity due to the circumstances around him. Roger Ebert’s words – “That leaves us with a closed-room mystery: In a snowbound hotel, three people descend into versions of madness or psychic terror and we cannot depend on any of them for an objective view of what happens. It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick’s film so strangely disturbing.” could not be truer in terms of describing how the vast empty hotel drives each one of the characters in the movie to the edge. Jonathan Romney, in his critique describes the movie thus – “The final scene alone demonstrates what a rich source of perplexity The Shining offers. At first sight this is an extremely simple, even static film. A family move into a Colorado hotel for the winter so Dad can write his great literary work in peace while perform ing his function as caretaker. But the ancient blood -soaked visions recorded like old movie scenes in the hotel’s walls emerge, and Jack is possessed, driven homicidal….”
Now if all of the above doesn’t tempt you to go watch the movie itself, the fact that it is based on Stephen King’s novel should make you do so. Go watch Jack Nicholson at his best.
LAMBScore for this movie