Monday, 17 January 2011

Review on The Shining

Review on The Shining

 The Shining

The ambiance in this film captures the horror theme well, such as some parts where there are wide open spaces inside the empty hotel filled with silence where you would expect a loud party to be going on. The large patterns on the carpet also make the rooms appear to be wider than they actually are and give the impression that the ceilings are lower. The silence of the hotel also gives the sense of suspense, like a quiet before a storm, tension building up and ready to snap at any moment. Its so quiet that small sounds, such as the typing on the type writer and the child peddling his tricycle appear to be magnified intensively. Ian Nathan mentions this in a review on Empire. 'The result is gloriously precision-made. The use of sound especially (listen to the remarkable rhythm of silence then clatter set up by Danny pedaling his trike intermittently over carpet then wooden floor.) And that's not forgetting the procession of captivating images: a lift opening to spill gallons of blood in slow motion; a beautiful girl transformed into an old hag in Jack's arms; and, as a million posters now attest, Jack's leering face through the gaping axe wound in the door.' (Empire, 2010) With its strange images shown such as the blood mentioned coming out the lift and people or ghosts appearing in parts of the hotel, as well as scenes of the murdered children which only Danny can see, makes one wonder if the hotel is possessed by some form of evil or the isolation is making the family see things as Roger Ebert explains in a review on Chicago Sun-Times. 'It is possible to understand some of the scenes of hallucination. When Jack thinks he is seeing other people, there is always a mirror present; he may be talking with himself. When Danny sees the little girls and the rivers of blood, he may be channeling the past tragedy. When Wendy thinks her husband has gone mad, she may be correct, even though her perception of what happens may be skewed by psychic input from her son, who was deeply scarred by his father's brutality a few years earlier.' (Chicago Sun-Times, 2006)

 Blood Emerging from The Lift

The real fear does not come from the ghosts and strange happenings, but comes from within the family itself as mention by Film4. 'Unlike horror films which identify the terror externally - as a monster or pursuing entity - The Shining locates the horror firmly within the family. The threat of violence within the domestic space is somehow even scarier than the Grand Guignol of the ghosts in the ballroom and blood in the bath.' (Film4, 1980) This theme of someone killing their own family is far more disturbing than ghosts and monsters as this is not restricted to film.

 Psychotic Jack
List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Stanley Kubrick. (1980) The Shining [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18.01.11)

Figure 2. Stanley Kubrick. (1980) Blood Emerging from The Lift [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18.01.11)

Figure 3. Stanley Kubrick. (1980) Psychotic Jack [Screen Cap] At: (Accessed on: 18.01.11)


Ebert, Roger. (2006) The Shining (1980). (Accessed on: 18.01.11)

Film4. (1980) The Shining. (Accessed on: 18.01.11)

Nathan, Ian. (2010) Empire Essay: The Shining. (Accessed on: 18.01.11)

1 comment:

  1. A nicely presented review, Katy. I hope you're feeling better?