The Shining is a 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film tells the story of a writer named Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, who takes a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, bringing his wife Wendy, played by Shelley Duvall, and son Danny, played by Danny Lloyd, with him. As the winter progresses, the family is plagued by supernatural forces that drive Jack to the brink of insanity.
One of the primary themes of The Shining is the nature of evil and its influence on the human mind. The film explores the idea that evil is not just a supernatural force, but also something that can exist within us all. Another major theme is the dangers of isolation and the effects of cabin fever, which are magnified by the hotel’s haunted atmosphere.
The film’s popularity stems from its expert direction by Kubrick, who expertly builds tension and suspense throughout the film. Nicholson’s performance as the increasingly unhinged Jack Torrance is also a major draw, as is the film’s iconic imagery, including the elevator of blood, the twins, and the hedge maze.
The Shining has also become a cultural touchstone, with references to the film appearing in everything from The Simpsons to Ready Player One. Its enduring popularity has also led to countless theories and analyses, including some that suggest the film is actually a commentary on the Holocaust or a confession of Kubrick’s involvement in faking the moon landing.
Despite its initial mixed reception from critics, The Shining has since become widely regarded as a horror classic and a masterpiece of filmmaking. Its impact on popular culture and its enduring popularity make it a fascinating subject of study and discussion for cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike.
If you’re a fan of The Shining and looking for similar movies to watch, here are nine recommendations:
- Hereditary (2018) – This film also explores themes of familial trauma and supernatural horror, with a slow-building tension that will keep you on edge.
- The Witch (2015) – Set in 1630s New England, this atmospheric horror film tells the story of a family who falls victim to dark forces after being banished from their Puritan community.
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Directed by Roman Polanski, this classic horror film follows a pregnant woman who suspects that her husband and neighbors are part of a satanic cult.
- The Babadook (2014) – This Australian horror film tells the story of a single mother and her young son, who are plagued by a mysterious creature from a children’s book.
- Don’t Look Now (1973) – Set in Venice, this psychological horror film follows a grieving couple who begins to experience supernatural visions after encountering a pair of elderly sisters.
- The Others (2001) – Set in a remote English mansion, this film follows a mother and her two children who begin to suspect that their house is haunted by malevolent spirits.
- It Follows (2014) – This indie horror film revolves around a young woman who is pursued by a supernatural entity that can take any form.
- The Exorcist (1973) – Widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made, this horror classic follows a young girl who becomes possessed by a demonic entity.
- Midsommar (2019) – Directed by Ari Aster, this folk horror film follows a group of American tourists who attend a pagan festival in rural Sweden, only to discover that the festivities take a sinister turn.
All of these movies share similarities with The Shining in terms of their exploration of supernatural horror, psychological trauma, and eerie atmosphere.
1. Hereditary (2018)
Hereditary is a 2018 horror film directed by Ari Aster, which tells the story of the Graham family, who are haunted by supernatural occurrences after the death of the family’s matriarch. The film explores themes of grief, family secrets, and mental illness, while building tension through eerie imagery and an ominous score.
Toni Collette delivers a stunning performance as Annie, the mother of the family, whose grief and guilt over her mother’s death begins to unravel her own sanity. Alex Wolff also impresses as Peter, Annie’s teenage son, who becomes increasingly traumatized by the events unfolding around him. The film’s standout scene is a shocking and unforgettable sequence that takes place in a car, leaving audiences gasping in disbelief.
Like The Shining, Hereditary explores the idea that evil can exist within us all, and that the traumas and secrets of our families can have a profound impact on our mental health. The film also builds tension slowly and methodically, building to a terrifying climax that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
2. The Witch (2015)
The Witch is a 2015 period horror film directed by Robert Eggers, which tells the story of a Puritan family in 1630s New England who begin to suspect that their teenage daughter is a witch. The film explores themes of religious fanaticism, isolation, and paranoia, while building tension through atmospheric imagery and a haunting score.
Anya Taylor-Joy delivers a captivating performance as Thomasin, the family’s eldest daughter, whose innocence and faith are put to the test as the family’s situation grows increasingly dire. The film’s slow-burning tension builds to a startling and unsettling climax that will leave you questioning what is real and what is imagined.
Like The Shining, The Witch explores the idea that isolation and psychological trauma can lead to madness and supernatural experiences. The film’s stark imagery and use of historical language and customs also add to its eerie atmosphere.
3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 horror film directed by Roman Polanski, which tells the story of a pregnant woman named Rosemary (Mia Farrow) who begins to suspect that her husband and neighbors are part of a satanic cult. The film explores themes of paranoia, pregnancy, and gender roles, while building tension through subtle imagery and a haunting score.
Mia Farrow delivers a mesmerizing performance as Rosemary, whose pregnancy takes a dark and sinister turn as she becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid. The film’s shocking climax is still considered one of the most terrifying and memorable in horror cinema.
Like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby explores the idea of evil forces at work within seemingly idyllic settings, and the idea that those we trust the most may have hidden agendas. The film’s use of subtle horror and psychological manipulation also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
4. The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is a 2014 Australian horror film directed by Jennifer Kent, which tells the story of a single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), who struggles to cope with her son’s fear of a monster from a children’s book. The film explores themes of grief, depression, and motherhood, while building tension through suspenseful scenes and haunting imagery.
Essie Davis delivers a powerful performance as Amelia, whose own trauma and exhaustion begin to unravel her sanity as she is forced to confront the Babadook, a malevolent presence that may or may not be real. The film’s use of sound design and visual effects create a sense of dread and unease, making it a standout horror film of the last decade.
Like The Shining, The Babadook explores the idea that evil can exist within ourselves and the effects of unresolved trauma on the psyche. The film’s use of suspenseful scenes and a slow-burning tension also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
5. Don’t Look Now (1973)
Don’t Look Now is a 1973 horror-thriller film directed by Nicolas Roeg, which tells the story of a grieving couple, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie), who travel to Venice after the death of their daughter. The film explores themes of grief, supernatural occurrences, and the fragility of the mind, while building tension through haunting imagery and a disorienting editing style.
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie both deliver powerful performances as a couple struggling to cope with their loss and their increasing paranoia and fear as they begin to see strange and inexplicable visions. The film’s use of symbolism and its exploration of the fragility of perception make it a standout in the horror-thriller genre.
Like The Shining, Don’t Look Now explores the idea of supernatural occurrences within a seemingly idyllic setting, and the idea that grief and trauma can lead to a fragile mental state. The film’s use of surreal and disorienting imagery also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
6. The Others (2001)
The Others is a 2001 supernatural horror film directed by Alejandro Amenábar, which tells the story of a mother, Grace (Nicole Kidman), and her two children, who live in a secluded mansion in the aftermath of World War II. The film explores themes of grief, isolation, and the unknown, while building tension through eerie sound design and atmospheric scenes.
Nicole Kidman delivers a captivating performance as Grace, a mother struggling to keep her family together as they begin to experience supernatural occurrences in their home. The film’s slow-burning tension builds to a surprising and memorable climax that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew.
Like The Shining, The Others explores the idea of supernatural forces at work within an isolated setting, and the idea that our perceptions may not be as reliable as we think. The film’s use of sound design and atmospheric scenes also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
7. It Follows (2014)
It Follows is a 2014 horror film directed by David Robert Mitchell, which tells the story of a young woman, Jay (Maika Monroe), who is pursued by a supernatural entity that takes on the form of various people, after a sexual encounter. The film explores themes of sexual repression, trauma, and the consequences of our actions, while building tension through an ominous score and haunting cinematography.
Maika Monroe delivers a powerful performance as Jay, a young woman struggling to outrun a relentless and unpredictable entity. The film’s use of long takes and slow camera movements create a sense of unease and dread, making it a standout horror film of the last decade.
Like The Shining, It Follows explores the idea that evil can exist within ourselves, and the consequences of our actions can have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences. The film’s use of tension and slow-burning suspense also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
8. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a 1973 supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, which tells the story of a young girl, Regan (Linda Blair), who becomes possessed by a demonic entity. The film explores themes of faith, religion, and the nature of evil, while building tension through shocking and disturbing scenes.
Linda Blair delivers a chilling performance as Regan, a young girl whose body is taken over by a malevolent force. The film’s use of practical effects and makeup create some of the most memorable and terrifying scenes in horror history, making it a classic of the genre.
Like The Shining, The Exorcist explores the idea of supernatural forces at work within a seemingly normal setting, and the idea that evil can take many forms. The film’s use of disturbing and shocking imagery also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
9. Midsommar (2019)
Midsommar is a 2019 horror film directed by Ari Aster, which tells the story of a group of friends who travel to a remote Swedish village to participate in a festival that occurs only once every 90 years. The film explores themes of grief, trauma, and the danger of groupthink, while building tension through stunning cinematography and a sense of dread that permeates every scene.
Florence Pugh delivers a standout performance as Dani, a young woman who joins the group on their journey to Sweden, hoping to find solace after a family tragedy. The film’s use of color and lighting create a sense of unease and disorientation that contributes to its overall sense of dread.
Like The Shining, Midsommar explores the idea of an isolated community with dark secrets, and the idea that sometimes the most dangerous thing is the people around us. The film’s use of stunning visuals and a sense of dread that builds throughout also draw parallels to Kubrick’s masterpiece.
Here is a table with the IMDb ratings and Rotten Tomatoes scores for each of the following movies:
|Rotten Tomatoes Score
|Don’t Look Now