Stephen King's The Shining (DVD)
Jack Torrance and his family move into the sprawling, vacant Overlook Hotel to get away from it all. Away from the alcoholism that derails Jack's writing career. Away from the violent outbursts that mar Jack's past. But Jack's young son Danny knows better. He possesses a psychic gift called the shining. - a gift the hotel's vile spirits desperately want.
]]> Stephen King's The Shining
is a new adaptation from the author himself, made for television, that bears very little resemblance to the 1980 Stanley Kubrick version. That's not surprising since Kubrick threw out most of King's novel and presented his own version of the story. Here King redresses the balance in a miniseries that follows his original almost to the letter, and manages to be effectively creepy despite the budget and censorship limitations of the TV format.
Stephen Weber takes over the role of Jack Torrance, the caretaker who slowly descends into madness in the haunted Overlook Hotel. His performance is as far from Jack Nicholson as you could get, with his insanity building slowly and menacingly rather than being virtually mad from the get-go. Rebecca De Mornay is superb as Wendy Torrance, struggling to hold her fragile family together amid the spooky goings-on. Young Courtland Mead plays Danny, whose unique gifts give the story its title, as one of those infuriating TV brats who overacts left, right, and center. Fortunately, there are enough creepy moments and a number of frights to hold the whole thing together, the woman-in-the-bathtub scene being a standout shocker. Sure, there is nothing quite like Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" moment, but this is the story King wanted to tell and it still shines brighter than most of the other recent screen adaptations of his work. --Jonathan Weir