The Shining

All Work And No Play...

"A masterpiece." In accordance with the Kubrick legend, the process of making the movie took meticulousness to staggering levels.The result is gloriously precision-made. Every frame of the film brims with Kubrick's genius for implying psychological purpose in setting. This was horror of the mind transposed to place (or, indeed, vice versa). 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  Jack's leering face through the gaping axe wound in the door.

The Overlook Hotel is haunted by evil spirits. When Jack enters the sprawling ballroom, he is entering into the building's dark heart (possibly even Hell itself).  "You have always been the caretaker," Grady the previous caretaker, a man driven to slaughter his family, suggests menacingly. It's unclear whether the evil may have always been there in Jack, or The Overlook itself taking possession of his soul.

It's a question the whole film is posing: does the potential for evil reside in all men, just waiting to come to life? Ostensibly a haunted house story, it manages to traverse a complex world of incipient madness, spectral murder and supernatural visions... and also makes you jump. - Ian Nathan, Empire


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