Room 237

Director: Rodney Ascher

Starring: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner, Buffy Visick.

Running Time: 102 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 26th October 2012

The Shining is regarded as one of the best horror films of all time. You will find it in most best film lists. Strange, really, for a film that, on it’s initial release, was almost universally panned. So what has made people change their minds? Was it the iconic image of Jack Nicholson with his crazed expression in the shattered door? Was it that the film is genuinely scary without having to rely on buckets of gore and the recent “we’ll make you jump” attitude that modern horror directors love to use in place of actual scares? There are some who will say otherwise and those are the conspiracy theories that are allowed to share their thoughts in this fascinating but utterly bonkers documentary.

Director Rodney Ascher has got together a group of intellects and film experts to discuss their ideas as to the true meaning of Stanley Kurbrick’s now modern horror masterpiece. Without actually seeing them, just using their voiced interviews (including one of the subjects having to stop to check on his screaming child) and showing clips from the film as well as other films to illustrate their thought processes, the film examines their theories without once mocking them, although listening to these people, two things cross your mind. A). Are these people really allowed out in public, and B). Some people have far too much time on their hands.

So the documentary starts off with an interesting fact that possibly the film is an allegory of the destruction of the Native American, with the large amount of imagery hidden in the film. Kurbrick, a true intellectual himself, often hid things in his films and this would seem viable but as the film continues, the ideas seem to be more ludicrous.

Sure, we can examine that the shape of the hotel is wrong and that in some shots, chairs appear and then disappear in the next (this could be just bad continuity) but the most crazy idea shared has to be the conspiracy of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

As a nice taster before watching the film (or even after you’ve viewed it) it works. These people obviously love The Shining and you can hear their enthusiasm in their voices. The trouble is, they’ve really studied this film and formulated their own crack-pot ideas that make you wonder what these people really do in real life.

A fun film with some interesting ideas, some completely mad. If you are a film fan and particularly, a fan of The Shining, this is worth checking out.

3/5

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