The Shining 4K Blu-ray Disc Review

We pop another Written Review for you this Tuesday on a masterpiece from 1980, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, an alternative version of Stephen King’s book. Remember, movie reviews and disc quality reviews are color coded for your convenience, BillChete in orange and Lady Phantom in blue respectively.

IMDb Storyline: Haunted by a persistent writer’s block, the aspiring author and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, drags his wife, Wendy, and his gifted son, Danny, up snow-capped Colorado’s secluded Overlook Hotel after taking up a job as an off-season caretaker. As the cavernous hotel shuts down for the season, the manager gives Jack a grand tour, and the facility’s chef, the aging Mr. Hallorann, has a fascinating chat with Danny about a rare psychic gift called “The Shining”, making sure to warn him about the hotel’s abandoned rooms, and, in particular, the off-limits Room 237. However, instead of overcoming the dismal creative rut, little by little, Jack starts losing his mind, trapped in an unforgiving environment of seemingly endless snowstorms, and a gargantuan silent prison riddled with strange occurrences and eerie visions. Now, the incessant voices inside Jack’s head demand sacrifice. Is Jack capable of murder?

Movie Review:
Your reviewers have seen this movie a dozen or more times over the years. It is BillChete’s 4th favorite horror movie and Lady Phantom’s 3rd. Funnily enough we spotted two super nitpicks this time around; first, Wendy’s lipstick is unwound and opened when Danny picks it up and writes that infamous word on the door, second, when Jack axes the door he only pulverized one pane, when the camera changes angles, two panes are obliterated. BillChete and Lady Phantom did a detailed review on this film, along with GregaMortis, HellHunter and Dr. Shock way back on January 16th of 2011 on Planet Macabre. We will lead you there so you can DOWNLOAD the audio and listen in. The Shining review starts at 1:05:16 and ends at 1:24:28. Just forward to that section for a fun review with 5 hosts!

4K Disc Quality:
The visuals started strong with the mountainous helicopter view in a newly vivid detail, it actually made the car look out of place it was so vibrant. Film grain is minimalistic throughout but there was some haloing around characters heads and flickering flaws in a couple of scenes. It does have deeper tones and a “richer” feel but actually seemed out of place with the incandescent hues used at the time. We are presented with a 5.1 DTS track that was okay but nothing outstanding. Towards the end of the film, the constant shrills did wraparound you but on the whole there was nothing terrific about the audio. Overall I am super disappointed, I had heard other critics rave about this title, but I can only succumb to the fact that they were supplied the 4K disc and felt obligated to give this high marks. While this is one of the best horror movies ever made, it sure doesn’t garner any upgrade over the previously released Blu-ray. Collectors will undoubtedly purchase this but as a “true” fan of horror I felt cheated by this release. It is no doubt an unworthy upgrade. It’s clear and filmic but the Blu-ray is fine, you are getting basically nothing by purchasing yet another format of this movie. I’m sad. 🙁

This disc is okay. It looks clean and crisp, and the landscapes look great. The Overlook Hotel has never looked this detailed. There’s some grain visible, but only if you actually look for it. There are scenes in which you notice flaws around the people, especially when characters are running. Also, I didn’t find the blacks particularly dark. Red, however, looks spectacular (blood scenes, I’m looking at you). The sound is good, especially the music. At the beginning I heard sounds I hadn’t heard before. Whenever there was music, I felt the bass, and the dread. Excluding that, I didn’t notice much surround or much difference, for that matter. I didn’t feel like I was watching the movie for the first time, like it’s happened with other movies. It does look very good, but it’s the least you can expect from a 4K disc. I don’t think you’ll notice much difference from the Blu-ray, especially if you have a good TV.

Breakdown of “The Shining (1980)

Movie Rating  
BillChete:  10 (Buy) Lady Phantom:  10 (Buy)

4K Blu-ray Disc Grade  
BillChete:  C- (Unworthy) Lady Phantom:  C- (Unworthy)

Average 4K Disc Grade

C-