ᴡᴀᴅᴇ’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ve seen this film in the span of my life and i really never had a really good hold of my conscious opinion of it. I know I really liked it but I really couldn’t say why or how it has become beloved over the years before. Here recently I just really craved to see it again.
im not a big fan of kubrick per se but i do appreciate his films. All are flourishing in window dressing visuals and a certain underline theme slithering under the surface. that being said I think this film probably conveys that more with his ticking mind than the others. it doesn’t really scare me, but it...it makes me feel so uneasy, so vulnerable...with his long takes and impending dread around every corner of the overlook hotel. Like the film itself is sentient. It’s just gives me the most unnerving vibes.
I know King hates this adaptation out of all his work and idk. I’ve read his book and seen his version as a miniseries...it’s just so corny srry. The older I get I tend to think his books are just so over the top now. And I just feel his book one would have been bad as a film interpretation. He fussed about the central characters having stuff wrong with them before they get to the hotel, mainly Nicholson’s presence. But I think this helps the tension more. There is something wrong with this family. Whether it’s Jack’s alcoholism or the beating Wendy’s had in the past. For them to be secluded away from society and snowed in together helps these fractured relationships hit a breaking point. Knowing that deep down they have a resentment for each other plus the ghostly inhabitants of the hotel make it more appalling. They are the ticking bomb in the plot and the film hides that for different interpretations of multiple watches and it’s fantastic. imo I think that is more frightening than the generic happy family being torn apart by haunting ghosts and a kid who can communicate with ghosts which becomes more non-scary as the book continues. I just think being isolated with someone that is already unstable is more terrifying than someone who is gradually becoming unhinged That’s why this version works more on a horror level. Because there was no law, no help, no one to stop Jack from finally letting his dark rage of hatred over the years erupt on his wife he couldn’t stomach being with anymore or the idea of him finally accepting he’s a failure. The crux of cabin fever is strongly advised
I’ve already wrote more than I wanted to haha but I think the cherry on top is Jack’s performance. It’s so out there that it makes the scenes particularly the “dull boy” long shot with him & shelly so beguiling as if kubrick finally revealed the timer of the bomb as it hit its detonation. sure this has been praise to the moon and back but I feel it hides even more complicated meanings then what King could have drunkingly typed up.