Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 248 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A married couple with a small son are employed to look after a resort hotel high in the Colorado mountains. As a result, they are the sole occupants during the long winter. The hotel manager warns them not to accept the job because of a tragedy that occurred during the winter of 1970. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    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.
  2. 88
    But there is no way, within the film, to be sure with any confidence exactly what happens, or precisely how, or really why. Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeremy Knox
    For a supposed mainstream movie, Kubrick’s The Shining isn’t very audience friendly. Half the time you have to guess what the hell is going on, and if you're not familiar with Kubrick's narrative style you’ll be completely lost.
  4. 70
    Stephen King reportedly loathed the liberties Kubrick and co-writer Diane Johnson took with his story, but King's ur-villain, the emasculated husband from hell, has never been more clearly presented on-screen.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It is a daring thing the director has done, this bleaching out of all the cheap thrills, this dashing of all the hopes one brings to what is, after all, advertised as "a masterpiece of modern horror." Certainly he has asked much of Nicholson, who must sustain attention in a hugely unsympathetic role, and who responds with a brilliantly crazed performance.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric.
  7. 30
    Kubrick is after a cool, sunlit vision of hell, born in the bosom of the nuclear family, but his imagery--with its compulsive symmetry and brightness--is too banal to sustain interest, while the incredibly slack narrative line forestalls suspense.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 47
  2. Negative: 2 out of 47
  1. Dec 16, 2011
    My favorite film of Kubrick's. You feel like you're becoming as mad as Johnny while watching, building up cabin fever and fear in a mixture of nauseous scenes. Expand
  2. j30
    Nov 15, 2011
    A horror classic. An unforgettable performance by Jack Nicholson as the tortured soul of Jack Torrance. Stanley Kubrick's direction pushes all the right buttons. Expand
  3. Dec 8, 2012
    A great classic.
  4. Feb 20, 2011
    Unflinchingly directed - There has certainly been a good number of well made and thrilling horror-films in the last thirty years, but few possesses the psychological tension that Stanley Kubrick created in 1980 with his adaptation of Stephen King`s novel "The Shining" which he wrote with novelist Diane Johnson, that stringently tells the fictional story about writer, husband and father Jack Torrance, who travels from the city with his wife Wendy and son Danny to attend a job interview during the winter at the Overlook Hotel considering an off-season job as a caretaker. Torrance's intension is to use the remote and isolated hotel to find peace while he is writing, but as he get's into his writing his mental state starts to change.

    From the majestic and long opening scene where the camera moves transversal through a dead silent landscape and towards the films main location, to the grand finale, this is a throughout captivating and mind-puzzling tale mostly seen through the eyes of a psychic young boy who receives frightening premonitions about the place his parents have brought him to and a grown man who unknowingly is faced with his own mind's evanescence. This increasingly chilling character study uses repeated imagery, shifts from regular to extreme close ups, concentrated, repetitive and no dialog whatsoever, short and long takes and frequently changes from scenes of eerie silence to scenes of climactic noise.This is the type of film such as, without making any comparison, Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975) or David Lynch's "Eraserhead" (1976), where the mood is crucial for the films atmosphere, and in this case the mood is composed by Jack Nicholson's versatile mood-swings and the classic and orchestral music.

    Several stories are intersected in "The Shining", and they differ from the story of a writer's block, a horrible tragedy that happened in the past, a wife unable to reach her husband, a son unable to connect with his father and a man's broadening psychosis. It's impossible to overlook Jack Nicholson's electric presence as he transforms into a character that bewilders himself as far as conceivably possible in an oblivious mind. His multi-layered performance stands as a milestone in acting and Nicholson is as frightening as he is entertaining in his nearly exaggerated interpretation. With that said, this film wouldn't be as good as it is without the performances of Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd, who's presence is just as effective as Nicholsons. The ingenious about "The Shining" is that it achieves a high level of tension without being overly violent. Yes, there is a flood of blood, but the greatest horrors of the film is the words, the sounds, the images, the faces, the moods, and how these cinematic elements spark the viewers imagination. This inner an outer mind maze is a vivid examination of supernatural spookiness that truly captures the feeling and perception of fear. Kubrick knew no boundaries as a film maker and his eleventh feature is photographically aesthetic and unflinchingly directed.
  5. Nov 26, 2013
    This movie was always suspenseful and intense since the first shot. It did an amazing job at keeping me scared, which horror movies nowadays aren't even good at. I don't understand how people don't like this. Expand
  6. Aug 31, 2012
    Great, scary, intense atmosphere and superb Jack Nicholson mixed with the mediocre performances by everyone else. The ending is a little hard to understand but overall a very scary film. Expand
  7. Jan 20, 2012
    Very slow and boring movie, I've ever seen. I actually fell asleep at the scene where danny is riding his bike. I want realy horror movie, not a b-budget, childish horror movie. Expand

See all 47 User Reviews