Book & Movie Review: The Shining

My rating:  2 out of 5 stars

The Book:

Obviously this book has been out for some time now, about forty-five years I believe, but it was something I had wanted to read for some time. Anytime anyone mentioned horror books The Shining was always held in such high regard, said to be one of the best horror novels of all time. I’m a fan of horror, I love being scared so of course I just had to check out this scary book.

Boy was I disappointed. It started off slow, which left a bad taste in my mouth, I would have preferred a bit of action or something big to start off this book. But no, we get a boring old introduction to characters and the motel.

The characters were weak at best, I didn’t feel for any of them, well perhaps the mom a bit, nor did I think that them being trapped in a hotel with a colored past was anything important to me or the story. Jack’s character had a few moments, mostly his crazy moments, where he had a bit of appeal but otherwise he was just another face in this sea of nothingness.

Oh and did I mention that I wanted to reach into Danny’s mouth and pull out ‘Tony’ and toss him out the window. Thank you Stephen King for making a crazy kid with an even crazier imaginary friend that apparently lives in his mouth…oh no wait, it’s not he’s not crazy, he’s go “the shining”. Also, the whole “redrum” part annoyed me. I know it had significance to the story but it still annoyed me.

I think really the only good part of this book was when Danny went into room 237. Before this part, and sadly after it, there hadn’t been a lot happening and even less of the story had appealed to me. I didn’t care for the characters, the plot felt week and everything else just made me want to throw the book across the room. But this one scene, after far too little happening, was like that glimmer of hope that things will get good, that all these slow, boring parts will have been worth slogging through. Sadly that wasn’t the case and only room 237 and a small part of the ending brought any appeal to the story.

Also, does Stephen King’s name really need to be that large on the cover? It completely overshadows the title and is likely put there to be an eye catcher to all the diehard Stephen King fans.

Sorry Stephen King but what you write, not only with The Shining but all the other books I have read from you, are not horror, they are not even thrillers, they are just large chunks of words that pile up into a multitude of pages that seem to lead nowhere for the first 90-95% of the novel and then have everything happen right at the end. Maybe others like drawn out stories that save everythign to the end but I do not. Also your writing style offends me so much I cannot even put it into words. It’s just wrong, all wrong, and stop using so many brackets!

Obviously I didn’t like this book. I was so bloody boring and just bad. I really wanted to give it one start but that little bit of action at the end, after an agonizing 400 pages of boring drivel, made me decide on two stars. I would not recommend this book to others because I do not want them to have to suffer through it as I did.

The Movie:

After slogging my way through the book I decided to watch the movie, because honestly I’m a glutton for punishment. I went into the movie trying to ignore how downright awful the book was because I didn’t want it to affect how I viewed the movie. It wouldn’t have mattered, I hated the movie as well.

The one good thing I can say about this movie is that Jack Nicholson did a pretty darn good job of showing Jack Torrence’s slow descent into insanity through the hotels influence. Really that was all the movie had and even then it didn’t make it any appealing.

I also hated the fact that ‘Tony’ was now living in Danny’s finger. I can kind of understand why that was done, to give a sort of visual reference to that voice, but I just found it stupid. The worst part however, was whenever Danny was saying “Redrum” over and over and over again. I just wanted to reach through the screen and put an end to that kid. The voice he did it in, which I think was Tony’s voice, just grated on every single one of my nerves multiple times.

The ending was also a huge disappointment, I really wanted to see that hotel go up in a big ball of flames. Now obviously it would have been a huge expense back when the film was made, probably even impossible to do, so instead we were left with a bad ending.

Also did I mention that I wanted to just fall asleep I was so bored to tears watching this movie. It’s actually pretty similar to the way I felt while reading the book.

The only consolation that I get out of this movie is that it was so bad even Stephen King didn’t like it. But really how can Hollywood turn a boring and bad book into anything but a boring and bad movie? I think they did the best they could with what they had to work with but even that doesn’t make up for the horrendous pile of crap that this movie, and the book for that matter, is.

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