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The Shining
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Genre:Horror
Year:1980
Rating:R
Length:2 Hours 22 Minutes
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Credits:Directed by Stanley Kubrick

While Stanley Kubrick's The Shining easily stands out among the best-ever interpretations of Stephen King novels, it also ranks high in a more significant class -- it's one of the master director's most entertaining efforts, and by far his most conventionally chilling. King's tale is simple: Struggling writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) signs on for a winter caretaking job at a Colorado hotel, one that is eventually snowbound and definitely haunted. During the long winter months, his writer's block grows worse while his wife, Wendy (the brilliantly nervous Shelley Duvall), and quiet son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), take in the gathering gloom with increasing unease. The story may be textbook King, but the film is Kubrick through-and-through. The director's signature wide-angle shots and alienating tone highlight the psychic abilities of young Danny's curious "shine" and make way for the downfall of Nicholson's tortured Jack. Nicholson is at the top of his game here, offering a history-making performance ("Heeeere's Johnny!") that works unnatural wonders with Kubrick's icy imagery. Despite some differences from the novel, which inspired King to readapt it for TV in the 1990s, The Shining remains a uniquely unsettling experience, and one of the more quotable movies of its era ("redrum!"). Released in 1980, the film could be considered a fitting coda to the '70s -- a golden age for horror that included such scary classics as The Exorcist and The Omen. Tony Nigro

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