Room 237 REVIEW

Room 237 review: Redefining The Shining

Release Date: 26 October 2012
15 | 102 minutes
Distributor: Metrodome
Director: Rodney Ascher
Featuring: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner

One of horror cinema’s most famous scenes is in 1980’s The Shining, where a timorous Shelley Duvall peeks at her mad-eyed hubbie Jack Nicholson’s “novel,” and finds hundreds of repetitions of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Room 237, which is about The Shining, traps you in a similarly obsessed, deranged mindset: Misery-style uber-fandom meets David Icke conspiracy freakery. At first it’s exhilarating, but stay too long and you’ll die of exhaustion.

Five worshippers of Stanley Kubrick’s film each perceive different hidden meanings in the Overlook Hotel’s frosty spaces and endless details. There are no talking heads here; the film consists of the speakers’ criss-crossing voiceovers, illustrated by a wittily edited montage of clips from the movie, Kubrick’s other films, and many other flicks beside (see how many you recognise). You need to be familiar with The Shining and Kubrick, but that’s everyone, right?

Kubrick was a genius; ergo everything in the film is deemed to be significant (and even if he didn’t mean it to be, that’s postmodernism for you). So everything from a leisurely scene dissolve, to an oddly-placed window, to Nicholson’s choice of typewriter, becomes vitally important. Spot the guy who’s really, um, aroused by Nicholson! Learn how The Shining confronts us with millennia of human evil and genocide! See how a hotel key tag is Kubrick’s tacit admission that he faked the moon landing! And never, ever say, “But guys, it’s just a scary movie…”

Andrew Osmond

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