If God can be a big black slab from outer space, why can't the devil be a bartender named Lloyd? Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror movie completes the cosmology begun in 2001 by turning a specimen (Jack Nicholson) loose in the inner space of a deserted, snowbound hotel. He, too, is reborn--not as a space baby, but as a grinning, wisecracking ax murderer. Kubrick is after a cool, sunlit vision of hell, born in the bosom of the nuclear family, but his imagery—with its compulsive symmetry and brightness—is too banal to sustain interest, while the incredibly slack narrative line forestalls suspense. With Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd.
By Dave Kehr