As my wife and I drove home, our minds were still feverishly downloading what we had just seen. Although we spoke freely about it, I could tell we both didn’t want to believe some of the campfire tales surrounding the making of The Shining that were revealed to us in Room 237. Our love for The Shining, before this film, went as far as Nicholson, the music and overall creepiness of this cult classic. After having watched and listened to an hour and some change of testimonials from hardcore Kubrick fanatics, spliced with footage from Kubrick classics, I must say they sold me on a few theories or at least given me real reason to consider them at all.
If you were around when The Shining first released then you know about most of the urban legends and mythos that have plagued/catapulted this film to cult status. What I was surprised to learn while watching Room 237 was that none of the ones I heard, while growing up, were talked about in this film. Instead they unloaded a whole new set of Masonic-style clues, that I found for most part, easy to digest. There were of course a few ideas that were a bit far fetched and at times laughable, but the bulk of it seemed legit, especially the bit about the space program, a fact, that if your a conspiracy theorist like me, you’ll find very interesting.
It’s real important I don’t give the juicy parts of this film away, but how the hell am I to give a proper review without letting you in on something? Well I think I have a way of doing it that might work. I’m just going to write some words, words that were a constant theme in Room 237, but it won’t be enough to spoil anything for you. As for those who know most of the secrets surrounding the film, these words won’t be a surprise. Ready?…
The film wasn’t without it’s annoyances and that came by way of poor sound and footage quality and meaningless edits, especially of those obscure eighties film, that distracted me more than draw me in. I understand that director Rodney Ascher comes from a music video background, so it’s understandable that he wanted to achieve a lot of build, on sometimes meaningless info, with visuals and a surprisingly cool soundtrack composed by Composers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, but it did get a bit long winded at times.
Outside of that, the film was awesome! It was a pleasure listening to the testimonials of people from all walks of life, dishing out bits of their obsession like some sort of strange therapy session. There’s no mistaking the level of attachment these speakers have to the movie, they spill their guts about ideas they’ve been moiling over for years, as if they’d finally found someone who will listen to them. This film is not unlike that person whom you meet at a bar who tells you about the inner workings of some secret organization and you, being too drunk and tired to fight the maniacal rants, must give in and except the fact that what your hearing is going to stay with you forever no matter how much of it you decide to believe.
In 1980 Stanley Kubrick released his masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining. Over 30 years later we are still struggling to understand its hidden meanings. Rodney Ascher’s film Room 237 is an exploration of the truths concealed in The Shining.