Derided upon release as slow-paced, boring and far too removed from the source material, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of horror has steadily grown in stature ever since. A far superior version of Stephen King’s original story, Kubrick’s version has been analyzed to death since release but suffice to say it’s one of the most unsettling and disturbing family stories ever made.
A master of mood and style, Kubrick’s film is flawlessly made. From methodical steadicam shots through the halls of the Overlook Hotel to the barrage of terror that Shelley Duvall endures in the film’s final act, The Shining checks off every asset that makes a horror film effective and adds even more. Jack Nicholson may seem unhinged from the start but that’s a moot point, his is a singular performance and the movie as a whole would’ve been lesser without that menacing stare present in almost every scene.
There’s palpable dread throughout and it’s brought to vivid life thanks to Kubrick. Horror and the haunted house sub-genre of it would be lesser without his contribution and all we can do is thank him for it.