“Here’s Johnny.” Let’s start with: Jack Nicholson is wonderful.
This is one of those movies that’s been on my watch list for years. I honestly hadn’t watched it before because I was scared (yes, like a little baby) and I typically don’t do horror movies. Suspense: Yes, please, and thank you. But horror is a big fat no for me.
With that being said, once I saw the film, I didn’t find it all that scary. In fact, I was quite proud of myself for being such a grown-up about it! Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly well done, full of suspense and horrific images, but not Paranormal Activity scary (which is well beyond my threshold). (This might be because the movie is a product of the 70’s and can never compare to the horror images today’s technology exposes us to).
Verdict: I didn’t love The Shining. I know there are plenty of people who would fight me for saying that, but it’s really not my bag.
As I said, Jack Nicholson was great. The cinematography, the music, the set: great, great, great. The other actors were sub-par (nobody in their right mind has ever argued that Shelley Duval is a good actress -so no shock factor there) and there was not enough dedicated to tying the family to “the incident” at Overlook Hotel. Overall, I didn’t feel invested in the characters at all, which to me, is the hallmark in any story. I need to love my protagonist. Although he was played well by a fantastic actor, I didn’t love Jack Torrance or his family.
I’ve officially added the Steven King novel to my read-list to see how it compares. I did read that King himself was unhappy with the film and that the screenplay he wrote was completely ignored by Stanley Kubrick. I would be curious to see if reading the novel would enhance the film or if it is so drastically different that one would not benefit by comparing them. From what I have understood, King meant for Jack’s character to progressively dissolve into insanity throughout the story, which I did not feel happened at all.
If you are debating watching The Shining, my advice is, go for it. It’s creepy, but not terrifying (maybe leave yourself half an hour to watch something funny before bed –I keep episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm on hand for just such an occasion), and get it off your bucket list. It’s a classic for a reason and Jack Nicholson will keep you entertained.