The genre had success with “The Exorcist” in 1973, the year after with “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and another Stephen King novel adapted from the screens with “Carrie” in 1976.
The director lulls the viewers into a full sense of relaxation before terror and mayhem ensues with his shots of the Colorado mountainside with its forest and rivers far away from society with its winding roads before settling upon its final destination – the Overlook Hotel.
Mr. Kubrick makes his mark on the film with his decision to include string music to increase the sensation of tension and fear as well as his color usage in portraying different areas of the hotel.
He leaves his trademark with his film featuring moments of the unusual and surreal while remaining faithful to the novel as possible while it was shot during the period at the time.
The exterior of the hotel is magnificent with its lobby, dining establishment and intricate courtyard maze. While the hotel is not in operations during the winter due to the weather, the place requires a caretaker to take care of any maintenance work before its reopens in the spring.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is the new caretaker who bring with him his wife portrayed by Shelly Duvall as Wendy and their son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) who’ll spend as much family time with each other within the confines.
Mr. Nicholson displays such charm and arrogance in the beginning during his interview with the hotel manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson), but once in isolation and loneliness sets in he succumbs to cabin fever and takes it out on his family.
The character of Jack Torrance is doomed right before he checks into the hotel. He serves as a weak character as a recovering alcoholic, his relationship with his family is on the mends while going through writer's block while attempting to work on his latest script.
He resorts to this job that is beneath him being a former teacher because he has not other options as this point as he relocates his family for this last chance to prove his worth.
Mr. Nicholson's ability to show his character digressing as the movie progresses from fall into winter shows is impressive display of talent as he is barely recognizable as the man met earlier to becoming a man possessed by the hotel.
Danny begins to receive premonition that their lives are in danger once he realizes that his father gets the job. The images that he sees shows the family in peril while their occupancy at the hotel.
Sharing in his ability of resilient cognizant is the hotel chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) who too knows of the hotel’s past, advises him on making it through the winter but leaves concerned for the family’s well being.
Mr. Lloyd ability to know things in the future is due to his relationship with Tony. His transformation into his alter can be quite a scary thing for a mother to have to go through.
Mr. Kubrick focuses most of the movie from the child’s point of view whether he’s three-wheeling his bike through the hotel through its long hallways and exploring places he shouldn't be going.
Ms. Duvall’s character is supposed to uphold her family with a delirious spouse and traumatized child that she eventually falls apart and sees the hotel for what it is. But once Jack becomes a detriment to the family her only objective is to escape by all mean including going against her husband and battling the elements in order to survive with her son intact.
Jack’s communication with the spirits of the hotel is personified through the Grady (Philip Stone) who is a part of the hotel’s lore of infamous events that took place. During his trances, the film allows for him to see the finer sides of the hotel with its classy guests and fancy parties while hiding its true appearance behind false ascetics.
Both mother and son who have not succumb to the hotel’s spell realizes that they have to fend for themselves against their patriarch of the family who will do anything to remain in the hotel forever and ever and ever even if that means killing his family.
The film features iconic moments that are well known but one to point out involves the lobby as it unleashes its terror as the film deals with the effects of cabin fever quite to show how easy it’s to break an individual down when he’s down to his last opportunity for redemption.
Classification: DVD Vault – 2001 Edition
Movie Grade: 4 out of 5 stars
Jack Nicholson’s character change throughout the film is an example of how challenging it can be for an actor to show a wide variety of emotions but he effectively pulls it off to showcase a man suffering from cabin fever as he takes it out on the family as he becomes a man possessed by a hotel.
DVD Grade: 3 out of 5 stars
Features a 1978 behind the scenes look from his wife, Vivian, featuring the directors and interviews from the cast. She also provides film commentary along with theatrical trailer releases.
Timing: 1 Hour, 50 Minutes
Genre: Horror, Drama.
Director& Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Diane Johnson
Novel: Stephen King