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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Shining - Review (1980) 31 Days of Horror #9

Synopsis:  An author with writer's block and his family head to an isolated hotel for the winter to work on a new novel... not a bad gig unless some turns psychotic.

Review:  As I have been writing these reviews I realized just how many whacked out films I watched as a kid.  The Shining was just one of the films I ingested at a similar age to that of the boy playing Danny in the film.  I recall how exciting it was to get to school the next day to discuss some of the more shocking moments that were intended for a much older audience.  It's the perfect film to scar your children for life.  Although I do not feel as I suffered any ill effects from my young viewing I am surprised that what was effective back then holds up well today.

Like Jaws, Alien and so many other terrifying films the isolated location is the perfect setting to prey upon your fears.  The place is isolated as it is, add a massive winter storm and some terrify visions and all there is left are you and your nightmares with nowhere to run.  What exactly is at play here, a man losing his mind, some sort of supernatural experience or both?  Whatever it is, it escalate into madness.

The glue that holds this film together is the over-the-top performance of Jack Nicholson.  He lays is all out there and sells crazy in a somewhat entertaining and disturbing way.  The contrast of his performance with Shelly DuVall's gee-golly-this-is-good-rhubarb-pie delivery makes for some messed up scenes.  You might feel the urge to laugh until you remember most of what he is saying has something to do with abusing his wife or worse.  Still, Jack is irresistible - elevating bad to good and good to great.

I better wrap this up, my finger is thirsty.  Isn't it a bit early in the day for rum, red or any other color?

SCARINESS                4.0 out of 5     Red Rum, the twins, the bath tub, the voice  - Creepsville

GORE/VIOLENCE     2.5 out of 5     Some violent scenes, lighter on gore than most.

STORY                         4.0 out of  5     Much shallower than the novel but still effective.

Overall Rating (just as a film, not a horror film):  8 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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