Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Shining Review

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980s film The Shining is widely regarded as one of the biggest masterpieces in film. Part of the reason for this is it’s innovative way of using film conventions in a none conventional manner. Although the film fits under the category of “horror”, most aspects of the film are far from horror’s gothic roots. “Kubrick’s relationship to the horror genre was soon grasped in a different way by more reflective critics. The director seemed to have a parodic or subversive approach, turning Gothic conventions on their head, locating the horror not in supernatural threats to the nuclear family but erupting from its domestic heart.” (Luckhurt, 2013). The film is set in garish, spacious, 70s hotel with labyrinthial metaphors used throughout. The fear in the film doesn’t come from the dark or the spooky, it comes the not knowing what aspect of seemingly normal reality will be torn apart next.
The way the film is shot adds to its stylised eeriness. The use of symmetry and one point perspective gives the world a warped feel, like everything is mapped and planned out. The different camera angles put you in different perspectives- most poignantly in the perspective of Danny as he winds round the disorientating corridors (fig 1), wide shots (making characters small and unhelpable) and long shots. Kubrick uses long shots in many of his films, symbolising many different things. This essay suggests;- “The scene opens with an extreme long shot tracking Danny as he rides his tricycle away from the camera, down a hallway in the Overlook… Kubrick holds this shot for another few seconds, suggesting that Danny has just entered a dangerous place to where the camera is afraid to follow.” (Polselli, 2008)
(fig 1) Long warped corridor
  Colour and patterns are also strong throughout the film. The brash wallpapers and patterns on the walls and floor give the impression of the overly intensified warped world they’ve come to live in. It is as if everything is trying to be a little too friendly, when in reality everything this is a little too oversized, intensifying the loneliness. The patterns, most famously the corridor carpet (fig 2), seem to imply labyrinths and inner confusion.  It’s like everything in the hotel is against Danny and his mother. Ryan Lambie, blogger from “den of geek” says “Even the carpets accentuate the how small and vulnerable Danny and his mother are; one shot shows the little boy playing on a carpet whose huge geometric patterns surround him like a cage.” (Lambie, 2011)

(fig 2) Geometric carpet

Luckhurt, R, 2013 The Shining: Palgrave Macmillan

Polselli, A, 2008 “How Stanley Kubrick’s Editing Conveys a Horrifying Supernatural Vision in The Shining” via http://adampolselli.com/2008/01/06/stanley-kubricks-editing-in-the-shining/


Lambie, R, 2008 Iconic set design: The Shining's Overlook Hotel via


Image List
(fig 1) Still from The Shining via http://www.toddalcott.com/the-shining-part-4-a-month-later-tuesday-thursday-saturday.html
(fig 2) Still from The Shining via http://www.idyllopuspress.com/meanwhile/30410/the-shining-how-the-kubrick-carpet-trick-works/


  1. Hi Livi

    Good discussion around the labyrinthine elements within the film.
    Be careful when you are introducing your quotes; you say,
    This essay suggests;- “The scene opens with an extreme long shot...' and even though you have referenced it afterwards, it makes it sound as though it is your essay that is suggesting it, rather than Polselli's.

    Make sure that you remember to italicise the film names!

    Have another look at the referencing guide; there is still a bit missing from your image list...also use 'At' rather than 'via' - (you did it right in the other reviews!)

  2. also - consider justifying your text and also leaving a space between your paragraphs - will make the reader's experience of your content much more effortless.