The Shining (1980)

Based on the popular Stephen King novel, the 1980 film The Shining is one of the most classic psychological thrillers in history. The story centers around the Torrance family, a husband, wife, and son who move into the empty Overlook Hotel to take care of it through the off-season. During the winter, the isolated getaway in the Colorado Rockies gets snowed-in, closing it off to visitors.

By taking over the responsibility of caring for the building, the family agrees to stay inside for the duration of the winter with nobody but a handful of staff members…and maybe a few ghosts. Jack Torrance, played in the film by Jack Nicholson, takes this opportunity to shut himself off to the world and focus on his writing. A former teacher, Jack feels the need to begin his writing career with complete concentration. He is excited to have a place that offers him the ability to work without the distractions of the outside world, even though he is warned about the last person who took the job and killed his family and himself after the isolation caused him to lose his mind.

In spite of this information, he takes the job. His son, Danny, not only has a bad feeling about what could happen during their stay, he can see it. He possesses a gift they call “the shining” which gives him psychic abilities and allows him to see visions of things that have happened in the hotel.

The head chef also tells him that he has the ability to communicate telepathically, a skill that his grandmother was also gifted with. His abilities seem to have some connection with the hotel, which he explores throughout the story. As their time in the hotel passes, the truth of the building’s past is revealed little by little, and it’s nothing the family could have ever anticipated.

Even after weeks shut away in isolation, Jack’s writing has still seen little progress and he starts to become violent and distant from his family. The tension builds as his wife, Wendy, discovers what he has truly been spending his days writing and begins to question his sanity. She also worries that Jack may be physically abusing Danny when he comes back with bruises on his body. The family grows farther apart as time goes on. In the meantime, Danny begins to fall farther and farther into the secrets of the hotel, living in what appears to be a trance.

His spiral into darkness worries his mother, who becomes wary of the hotel and what it is doing to her family. The story explores what happened in the past and how it connects to the Torrance family and their future. Throughout the film, Stephen King’s touch of horror and brilliance shines through as you witness how the family’s experience progresses. The Shining will leave you on the edge of your seat as the horrors of the hotel unfold before you.