Jack Torrance arrives at the Overlook Hotel for a job interview. Manager Stuart Ullman warns him that the previous caretaker got cabin fever and killed his family and himself during the long winter in which the hotel is entirely isolated. The hotel itself is built on the site of an Indian burial ground. Jack’s son Danny has had terrifying premonitions about the hotel. Jack’s wife, Wendy, tells a visiting doctor about Danny’s imaginary friend “Tony”, and that Jack had given up drinking because he had physically abused Danny after a binge.

The family arrives at the hotel on closing day, and is given a tour. The elderly African-American chef, Dick Hallorann, surprises Danny by speaking to him telepathically and offering him some ice cream. He explains to Danny that he and his grandmother shared the gift; they called the communication “shining.” Danny asks if there is anything to be afraid of in the hotel, particularly Room 237. Hallorann tells Danny that the hotel has a certain “shine” to it and many memories, not all of them good, and advises him to stay out of room 237 under all circumstances.

A month passes and Jack’s writing project is going nowhere, Wendy is concerned about the phone lines being out due to the snow storm and Danny has more frightening visions. Danny’s curiosity about Room 237 finally gets the better of him when he sees the room has been opened. Later, Danny shows up injured and visibly traumatized causing Wendy to think that Jack has been abusing Danny. Jack wanders into the hotel’s Gold Room where he meets a ghostly bartender named Lloyd who serves him whiskey. Jack complains to the bartender about his relationship with Wendy. Afterward, Wendy shows up and apologizes for accusing Jack, explaining that Danny told her a “crazy woman in one of the rooms” was responsible for his injuries. Jack investigates Room 237 and has an encounter with the ghost of a dead woman there, but tells Wendy he saw nothing. Wendy and Jack argue about whether Danny should be removed from the hotel and Jack returns to the Gold Room, now filled with ghosts having a costume party. Here he meets who he believes is the ghost of the previous caretaker, Delbert Grady, who tells Jack that he has to “correct” his wife and child. Later, Jack sabotages the hotel radio, cutting off communication from the outside world.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Dick Hallorann gets a premonition that something is wrong at the hotel and takes a flight back to Colorado to investigate. Danny starts calling out the word “redrum” frantically and goes into a trance now calling himself “Tony”. Wendy discovers Jack’s typewriter and that he has been typing endless pages of manuscript repeating “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” formatted in various ways. Horrified, she confronts Jack, but he threatens her before she knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat and locks him in a kitchen pantry. Jack converses with Grady through the door of the locker, which then unlocks, releasing him.

Danny has written “REDRUM” in lipstick on the door of Wendy’s bedroom revealing to be “murder” spelled backwards. At that moment, Jack, armed with a fire axe, begins to chop through the door leading to his family’s living quarters. In a frantic maneuver, Wendy sends Danny out through the bathroom window but she is unable to fit through the window herself. Jack then starts chopping the bathroom door down with the axe, but backs off after he hears a running engine from Halloran’s snowcat outside. Jack leaves the room and begins to wander about the hotel to find Halloran and kills him just moments after his arrival. Jack then begins to pursue Danny and is led into the hedge maze. Jack follows Danny’s footsteps, but is misled when Danny manages to walk backwards in his own tracks and leaps behind a corner, covering his tracks with snow. Wendy and Danny escape in Hallorann’s vehicle while Jack freezes to death in the hedge maze.

The final shot of the film is of an old photograph taken at the hotel on July 4, 1921 in which Jack Torrance is clearly visible while “Midnight, the Stars and You” is being played through the hallways.

Starring – Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Director – Stanley Kubrick.
Screenplay – Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson based on a novel by Stephen King.

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