The Shining made it into Ebert's series of "Great Movie" reviews, saying "Stanley Kubrick's cold and frightening The Shining challenges us to decide: Who is the reliable observer? Whose idea of events can we trust?" ... "It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing."
Ghosts or cabin fever?
In some sequences, there is a question of whether or not there are ghosts present. In the scenes where Jack sees ghosts he is always facing a mirror, or in the case of his storeroom conversation with Grady, a reflective, highly polished door. Film reviewer James Berardinelli notes "It has been pointed out that there's a mirror in every scene in which Jack sees a ghost, causing us to wonder whether the spirits are reflections of a tortured psyche." Ghosts are the implied explanation for Jack's escape from the locked storeroom.
On the other hand, no mirrors appear in Danny's or Wendy's visions.
Kubrick scholar Michel Ciment has written
It seemed to strike an extraordinary balance between the psychological and the supernatural in such a way as to lead you to think that the supernatural would eventually be explained by the psychological: 'Jack must be imagining these things because he's crazy.' This allowed you to suspend your doubt of the supernatural until you were so thoroughly into the story that you could accept it almost without noticing...It's not until Grady, the ghost of the former caretaker who axed to death his family, slides open the bolt of the larder door, allowing Jack to escape, that you are left with no other explanation but the supernatural.
At the end of the film, the camera zooms slowly towards a wall in the Overlook and a 1921 photograph, revealed to include Jack Torrance seen at the middle of a 1921 party. In an interview with Michel Ciment, Kubrick overtly declared that Jack was a reincarnation of an earlier official at the hotel. Still, this has not stopped interpreters from developing alternative readings, such as that Jack has been "absorbed" into the Overlook hotel. If his picture has been there all along, why has no one noticed it? After all, it's right at the center of the central picture on the wall, and the Torrances have had a painfully drawn-out winter of mind-numbing leisure in which to inspect every corner of the place. Is it just that the thing in plain sight is the last thing you see? When you do see it, the effect is so unsettling because you realize the unthinkable was there under your nose – overlooked – the whole time.
I was something like nine or ten years old, maybe 8, when I first saw This film. Then I missed a week of school. Lack of sleep. Since then, no other film has ever frightened me. Ever. While the Shining still does.
I recreated this iconic scene using 3DStudioMax. ..and I remember it being a ‘face your fear’ type experience.
Then, when I was waiting for the final render to complete, watching the image slowly form on my computer, I managed to freak myself out anyway haha- scenes from the movie were rushing through my head with crazy detail. Vivid. Up close. Like I knew the whole thing by heart. Like I created it on my computer.
I’m obviously a goofball.
The photographs… hanging on the wall to the right is a photo of my brother and myself giving my mother away on her wedding day. On the left wall, Myself posing in front of my bedroom door, on which I had written Redrum with lipstick.
There’s one other thing I’d like to mention about this piece… but… I’m gonna wait and see if anyone picks up on it first.
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