Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film “The Shining” is unsettling to such an extent that it makes you feel uneasy right from the first scene, and hours after you’ve finished watching.
On Saturday, Jan. 18, The Little Theatre screened “The Shining” as part of their monthly Saturday Night Rewind event. These throwback events are great for anyone wishing to watch or revisit classic films in a place that has its own classic personality, as The Little looks like the archetype of an American movie theatre.
Watching “The Shining” in the theatre was especially great — it brought the creepy feel of the movie to a whole new level. The sound effects, particularly the blaring steam whistles and harsh strings throughout the film were made more disturbing by the theatre’s high definition surround sound. Not to mention the long disturbing shots on the big screen, such as the zoom ins on Jack’s (the main character’s) face, providing a more vivid view of his descent into madness.
Even still, watching this movie will make you uncomfortable regardless of setting. Right from the onset, the film gives you a feeling that something sinister is brewing, even while the characters on screen seem to be acting normal. The way the characters evoke a feeling of uncertainty and unease at any point during the film underlines the actors’ expressive performances and nuanced delivery of the script. Moreover, Jack’s declining mental state is not only demonstrated through Jack Nicholson’s great delivery, but also his visibly troubled appearance.
With respect to directing, Kubrick’s genius is unmistakable. The amalgamation of sound effects, long shots, masterclass framing, disturbing imagery, and the slow build of suspense creates a perfect horror movie. The whole film is terrifying, even during vague scenes that are meant to confuse you.
Another brilliance of the film is how The Overlook Hotel — the movie’s primary location — is a character in itself. From the hotel manager’s story of the building’s tragic past to the head chef’s reluctance to answer whether the hotel is truly evil or not, you start to get a sense of the hotel’s dark history, and that something about it isn’t right. As the movie progresses, however, the wicked nature of the hotel becomes even more apparent, as it begins to taunt and twist the souls of the main characters. This is Kubrick’s expertise at work. In that he is able to transform a seemingly average hotel into an almost sentient being with a real personality.
To anyone reading this, I highly recommend you watch this film. This cinematic masterpiece will not only terrify you during its runtime, but will leave you questioning long afterwards. It might not be as good as “Cats,” (just kidding) but it’s definitely worth the watch.