Rodney Asher

Room 237

In 2006, during the initial years of YouTube’s expanding popularity, this mash-up of The Shining went viral. By recasting the tone of Stanley Kubrick’s canonized 1980 horror film as a romantic comedy, complete with a Peter Gabriel song, the video’s act of both subverting and highlighting genre conventions made an incredibly effective case for how audiences can actively rework, rethink, or even contradict some of Hollywood’s most sacred texts. It’s this particular web 2.0-enabled democratic approach – not only to The Shining, but to movies in general – that lays the groundwork for Rodney Asher’s Room 237, a “subjective documentary” that investigates theories around the most notorious adaptation of any of Stephen King’s novels. Room 237 lends a microphone to five select uber-fans of The Shining. We never see these fans, and we only peripherally come to understand a bit about them (one is a history professor, another a father who sees his relationship with his son as similar to the one shared between Jack and Danny (!)). Instead, Room 237 devotes its entire running time to letting these individuals expound on their diverse theories about The Shining, while the film’s visual portion exercises these theories through visiting, revisiting, slowing down, and reversing clips from The Shining and Kubrick’s other works, filling out the gaps with clips from other films, both famous and obscure.

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