“The site is supposed to be located on an ancient Indian Burial Ground…”
Is The Shining a scary film? I don’t know. It certainly sticks with you and comes back to you, not always at the best of times. I think it’s because Stanley Kubrick has seared a few incredibly disturbing images onto our collective consciousness – an accomplishment that stands up just as well as if he had made a great film. Or maybe that’s the same thing.
The movie was not well received in 1980. But it would have taken a visionary critic to have foreseen the lasting impact of this film, and there is a lot to criticize even if someone had been such a visionary. Roger Ebert gave it a “Thumbs Down” initially, and then in 2006, he reconsidered and included it in his reviews of Great Movies.
To get the plot out of the way, because that is the least important thing about The Shining, Jack Torrance (a revved up Jack Nicholson) agrees to become caretaker of a haunted hotel and almost instantly loses his marbles and tries to kill his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd). Though he is pretty much off-the-deep-end after the first snowstorm, his madness is fairly directionless until a couple of experienced ghosts counsel him on the finer points of axe-wielding and wife-hacking. The breakneck speed of Jack’s descent and the ultimately useless side story of the telepathic son and chef (Scatman Crothers) are poorly draped around some of the spookiest and most indelible images from the entirety of horror-film history:
The winding mountain road.
Danny’s ever present Big Wheelish Trike.
The blood in the elevator.
Jack’s demonic facial contortions.