Movie Review: The Shining (1980/English) 104

One of those old classics among thriller/ horror genre! Nearly three decades old and over two hours long, the only thing that can keep you glued to the screen is Jack Nicholson’s mesmeric performance while the eerie setting of a lonely hotel in the hills, everything around covered in snow and an untold story of death complete the picture.

Jack Torrance (Nicholson) a writer doubles up as a school teacher to make ends meet. When a position opens up as a caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the mountains that closes down for the entire winter, Jack grabs the opportunity knowing fully well that a decade ago, one of his kind failed to handle the solitude and murdered his two daughters with an axe and then drowned his wife before shooting himself.

Joining Jack in his sojourn are his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall), a fan of horror flicks and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The little boy though seems to have visions of Overlook’s past and flowing blood. A casual chat with Chef Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) reveals that he too like Danny can foresee things and know unspoken words, a skill that is called “shining” here and is adequately demonstrated at significant turns in the film.

The long winter soon gets on Jack’s nerves as he is seen to be visibly stressed by his work and the loneliness of winter. As is must in horror flicks, he soon starts talking to the dead who tell him that he was always the hotel’s manager and compel him to ‘correct’ his son and wife who seem to guard themselves from the ominous. Hallorann, meanwhile envisions the happenings from Miami and flies down to save them.

While Jack Nicholson is an accomplished performer par excellence, Danny Lloyd thoroughly shines in his role. Be it his conversations with the imaginary Tony or his curious cycling around the hotel, chance encounters with the dead girls, his visions of death and the spooky humming of ‘Red-Rum’ which is read backwards as ‘Murder’. Shelly Duvall as the mom already looks spooky and is a fine fit for her role.

Based on the book by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick the experienced Horror director makes sure that “The Shining” has its moments. Danny’s cycling scenes, sudden appearance of ghosts, conversations with them and the silent emptiness of locale are done well. The chase sequence in the snow-laden giant garden-maze is apt too. Despite its length, the performances will keep you glued to it. Worthwhile on DVD!

Rating 7/10: An old thriller; Jack Nicholson & Danny Lloyd make it worthwhile!