The Shining (1980) (4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Review)

The Shining (1980) (4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Rated: R/Region O/1:78/4K (2160p)/Number of Discs 2
Available from Warner Brothers

A man, his son and wife become the winter caretakers of an isolated hotel where Danny, the son, sees disturbing visions of the hotel’s past using a telepathic gift known as “The Shining”. The father, Jack Torrance, is underway in a writing project when he slowly slips into insanity as a result of cabin fever and former guests of the hotel’s ghosts. After being convinced by a waiter’s ghost to “correct” the family, Jack goes completely insane. The only thing that can save Danny and his mother is “The Shining”.

There is an uneasy feeling that just swarms the overall presentation of The Shining. And as it has been proven as of late, if you feel a little sick while watching the film it’s 100% intentional. Mixed in with the haunting story of a man flipping his wig, is set that was actually designed in a manner to mess with the audience’s mind a bit. This was a fact that wasn’t really known until ABC News did a story about it a few years back. I find it as just another cool element that went into the making of this film. A film that many of you voted for back when we did the Top 10 Horror Films of the 80s voting a couple of years back. At the center of this film that packs scenes of spooky twins, grotesque women coming out of a tub, and a boy who has “the shine”, is Jack Nicholson. Jack is notably overacting some of the scenes in the film, perhaps even 90% of his on-screen time. But it doesn’t hurt things at all, it works. The story behind that is the fact that Stanley Kubrick was a big fan of James Cagney and that is one reason he wanted an over the top Nickolson. In the role of, Jack Torrance, Jack would go on to create one of the most memorable characters ever on film. We watch as he works on his book, we watch as he talks to people that may not really be there, and we watch and wiggle in our chairs as he puts an ax through a door. A scene that would have to be among the list of all-time greatest scenes ever shot.

As the film goes on into it’s ending, you can’t help but notice it is a film that takes its time. The build can be slow, but it’s like heating water. You put it on and you wait as it starts to slowly boil, and that’s what happens here. By the time the story reaches its boiling point, it’s a nail biter and a very exciting climax to a very well crafted and acted film. It also leaves us with yet another iconic image to end the film. If you want to see a well-made horror film, The Shining is a well-made horror film. And while it’s slow, it’s nothing but pure class from start to finish. It doesn’t have a lot of gore. It doesn’t pack a man in a mask running around either. But it does give us all the essentials a horror film should have. While we know the movie is awesome, this release from Warner that brings this movie to 4K is on a whole other level. This is a beautiful transfer and this is one of the best I’ve ever seen an older movie pop in the format. This release is a prime example of what 4K met with the right transfer and movie can do to improve an already great viewing experience.


– Audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Stanley Kubrick biographer John Baxter
– Video from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining
Enter the terrifying world of the Overlook Hotel as only Stanley Kubrick could envision it
– The Visions of Stanley Kubrick
A detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest visual storytellers and his unique ability to move audiences through the magic of unforgettable images
– The Making of The Shining
This cinema verite documentary offers a rare glimpse into the directing style of Stanley Kubrick as he interacts with stars Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall and others
– Wendy Carlos, Composer
Composer Wendy Carlos reflects on working with complex auteur Stanley Kubrick and developing music scores for The Shining and A Clockwork Orange


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