The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror based on Stephen King’s book by the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall in the leading roles. The story is centred on a family taking the job of winter caretakers of an isolated hotel as the snowy weather makes it impossible to have visitors. It’s an iconic film with iconic scenes recreated in multiple forms of media over the years. The 2019 sequel called Doctor Sleep is a worthy follow-up; check that out too. But in this article, we’ll discuss the plot and ending of The Shining in detail; spoilers ahead.
Check out the podcast for this episode that covers both The Shining and Doctor Sleep:
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Where To Watch?
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch.
Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
What is The Shining?
The Shining is the term used to refer to superpowers that certain people (or places) possess. It could be communicating thoughts only with the mind, mental projections, mind control, precognition etc. The film shows that the little boy, Danny, is gifted with the Shining.
What is the Overlook Hotel?
The Overlook Hotel is a place that has the Shining, and it’s like a sink that consumes special people. The hotel is haunted by the evil atrocities of its past. While most guests come and go without being affected, the hotel claims people who possess the Shining.
Who is Dick Hallorann?
Dick is the chef at the Overlook Hotel. Though he has the Shining, he has somehow resisted the Overlook Hotel from consuming him. Perhaps he’s telepathically powerful and can easily keep evil from messing with his head. Soon as Dick meets Danny, they have an entire conversation using their minds where he explains the Shining. Dick also warns Danny to not enter room 237 in the hotel.
What happened in Room 237 in the Overlook Hotel?
Room 237 is the residence of the ghost of a lady who appears to have died in the bathroom. Her ghost continues to haunt the hotel. Because of his powers, Dick knows precisely what’s wrong with the room and the entity in the room is drawn to people who Shine, and that’s why he warns Danny to never go into the room. The room is also a conduit through which the hotel consumes its victims.
Did Jack Torrance Shine?
Although never directly confirmed in the movie or book, the logical answer is – Yes. However, Jack didn’t have a mentor, nor could he understand or control his powers. Over the years, he thought he was losing his mind and his Shining made him take to alcohol, and the Overlook Hotel claimed him because of his Shine.
What Happened To Jack?
While it’s easy to write off that Jack had mental issues and that, in combination with alcoholism, caused him to go crazy, it’s not that simple. I believe that Jack thought he heard voices in his head, but these were the actual voices of other people. As I mentioned, Jack didn’t understand his powers, couldn’t control them, and had no one to mentor him. He eventually took to alcohol as it dulled the Shining and, therefore, the voices in his head.
The Shining: Who is Charles Grady?
Charles is a man who was once a winter caretaker at the Overlook. It appears he was much like Jack, who didn’t understand his Shining. The hotel consumed him, and he killed his wife and two kids. Charles is now forever trapped in the hotel. The management believes cabin fever drove Charles crazy, but we know that’s not it.
Who are the twin girls?
The twin girls are credited as the Grady Twins even though we’re told that Charles’ two girls were 8 and 10 years old. These two girls were killed in the hotel, and their spirits have been stuck there ever since.
Who is Tony in The Shining?
Tony is a protective force that guides Danny through the horrors that unfold at the Outlook. Tony manifests as an alternate persona within Danny. His family writes Tony off as an imaginary friend. The film leaves it slightly ambiguous, but the book clarifies that Tony is a future version of Danny protecting his younger self.
Why is he named Tony?
There is no explanation given to Tony’s name in the movie, but the book makes it clear that Tony Danny’s middle name as he’s a future version of himself. Danny’s full name is Daniel Anthony Torrance, and Tony is short for Anthony.
Did Jack abuse Danny?
There is no explicit evidence or indication in either the novel or the film adaptation of The Shining that Jack sexually abused his son Danny. The emotion from that one scene with Danny and Jack is that Jack wanted to be a good father to his son, but something beyond him was making him hateful. It is clear that Jack used excessive force to grab Danny’s hand and dislocate it. But it appears to be an accident that happened when Jack was drunk, and as a result, Jack tried to give up alcohol too, but his Shining made it difficult for him to stay sober. Long story short – Jack was an alcoholic, bothered, but not a constant abuser and surely not a sexual predator.
The Shining: Plot Explained
The movie begins with Jack agreeing to take up the job of a winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. Jack, his wife Wendy and his son Danny move in and stay alone over many months at the hotel. While initially, things are fine, and Jack claims to be working on his book, Jack slowly begins getting consumed by the Overlook.
What happened to Danny’s neck?
Danny is the first target who is coaxed into entering Room 237, where he gets attacked by the old lady. And that is how he gets his neck bruises. There is the alternate theory of Jack assaulting Danny, but we see Danny enter 237 against Dick’s warnings, and at that time, Jack was tying away.
Later, when Jack enters Room 237 to investigate, the lady (in her younger form) seduces him, but Jack’s Shining helps him see past the projected vision when looks in the mirror, and he makes a run for it. Later, he heads to the bar.
How did Jack get alcohol in The Shining at the Overlook?
Jack does not get alcohol during his stay at the Overlook. That is the crux of it all. For as long as he was with alcohol, he was able to manage his inner turmoil. The many months he spends at the Overlook is without alcohol. Think about it, the management is not going to leave behind alcohol for the caretakers to get drunk on for free. With Overlook preying on Jack and the lack of alcohol to dull his Shining, he gets fully claimed by the Overlook Hotel once he enters Room 237. The barkeep Lloyd is another claimed soul; while he might have had advice for Jack, he didn’t have real alcohol. Jack Nicholson, Jack Torrence, Jack Daniels – ultimately, they’re all just Jack.
REDRUM – MURDER
After this, Jack begins interacting with the other people who died in the hotel over the years, including Charles, who tells Jack it is time to kill Wendy and Danny, who has contacted Dick telepathically. Wendy discovers that Jack’s entire book only reads, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and she strikes Jack on the stairs and locks him in the pantry, but Charles’ ghost sets Jack free.
Danny gets a warning in the form of a vision from Tony, and he writes it out “REDRUM” – Wendy sees this in the mirror and sees MURDER. Jack, who has destroyed the radio and the only snowcat, attacks with the [now] infamous axe.
Dick arrives after getting Danny’s SOS but is killed by Jack. Danny exits and runs into the hedge maze while Wendy begins seeing the ghosts and the [now famous] blood tsunami making it clear that the hotel is haunted.
Danny realizes that he’s leaving a trail of footprints for his dad to follow, so he smartly backtracks on a set of his prints and hides. When Jack crosses him, Danny returns to the Maze entrance, where he reunites with his mom. In Dick’s snowcat, the two escape.
The Shining: Ending Explained: How is Jack in the photo at the end of The Shining?
The ending of The Shining shows Jack losing his way in the maze and freezing to death. After that, we see a photo from 1921 with Jack in the middle. This picture has all the people with Shining who have been claimed by the Overlook Hotel, and now Jack is too.
In this photo and the scene at the bar where Jack sees a bunch of people at a party, all these people exist independent of time. They have all been claimed by the Overlook Hotel over the many years. 4th July 1921 is most likely the year the first soul was claimed by the hotel.
The Elevator Blood Scene Explained
The flood of blood that Danny, and eventually Wendy, sees is the visualization of the brutality of the Overlook Hotel, the blood of all the people it has claimed. The scene represents a manifestation of the hotel’s dark and violent history. It symbolizes the accumulated trauma, death, and evil that have taken place within the Overlook Hotel over the years. The sheer volume and intensity of the blood flooding the hallway emphasize the hotel’s malevolent presence and the lingering presence of past horrors.
What where your thoughts on the plot and ending of The Shining? Do drop in your comments and theories, there is much to discuss. Also don’t stop here, do check out Doctor Sleep, the 2019 sequel.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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