Stanley Kubrick’s masterful visualisation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining is quite simply one of the best films in the pantheon of horror and psychological thriller.
Kubrick’s films are visual treats in which the composition and setting are of equal importance to the dialogue. The film is set in the cavernous Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado, where former teacher and struggling writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has fetched his reluctant family to act as sole caretaker during the hotel’s winter shutdown.
The location is spectacular but the idyllic mountain autumn is replaced by a bitter snowbound winter – leaving the family isolated and cut off.
It’s fair to say the Overlook has a malevolent presence about it and a bit of a gruesome backstory too – episodes of which are echoed in bloody visions experienced by the Torrance’s psychic son, Danny – and it’s not long before Jack’s writer’s block and inner demons begin to take a toll on his sanity. Tension and menace are omnipresent and maintained without ever resorting to slasher movie-style shocks. The Shining is a king among this genre and is essential viewing for anyone with a penchant for frights. Just stay away from Room 237!
The Shining – Thursday 11.15pm on Sky Cinema Scifi & Horror.