Watching the Shining for the first time can be confusing. It doesn’t seem all that scary. It plods along, nothing much happens, and by the end you sort of feel like it’s you’ve been suckered. It’s all hype, you’ll think.
But then you’ll watch The Shining again. Perhaps it’ll be on late and it’s the best thing on the guide. Maybe a partner will insist you missed something. Listen to them. They know better. (This is good advice generally). Inevitably, the re-watching will make you pay a little bit more attention. You’ll start to look around the actors, and pay attention to the series of events. At some point, you’ll catch an inconsistency. You will feel clever. Later, you will feel like an idiot, because there’s loads of them.
If you’re completely nuts, you’ll dive into the content about it online. Here are the best pieces I’ve seen about the movie, to save you some time (but you’ll want more. There is no “enough” with this film):
Todd Alcott’s Seven Part Analysis of ‘The Shining’
The Shining and The Steadicam
11 Things You Might Not Have Noticed In The Shining
The Set of “The Shining” is Intentionally Impossible
The Shining doesn’t just reward multiple viewings, but different kinds of viewings. And that’s why I was so excited to see it in the theatre (TIFF’s Kubrick Exhibit), where I’d surely pick up on a few bits I hadn’t before. I did notice two things I hadn’t before. One inconsistency is that the first time we see the Overlook, there is no maze. This is definitely one of those head-smacking ones. I’m sure other people noticed it years ago. I’m sure there’s tons of posts about it. But hey, it was the first time for me.
The other thing I noticed was just how loud the movie is. Having only watched it at home, I never realized I was supposed to crank the volume and break my speakers, but that’s how it was in the theatre. The “waaaaah” factor reached 0.8 Nolan, and the enveloping noise succeeded in making a movie I’ve seen half a dozen times scary again. Well done.