Back to IndieWire

VODetails: ‘Room 237’

VODetails: 'Room 237'

More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “Room 237,” a documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” — not a spinoff of the popular late ’60s television show “Room 222.”

Director: Rodney Ascher

Criticwire Average: B+ (74 critics)

Official Synopsis: “After the box office failure of ‘Barry Lyndon,’ Stanley Kubrick decided to embark on a project that might have more commercial appeal. ‘The Shining,’ Stephen King’s biggest critical and commercial success yet, seemed like a perfect vehicle. After an arduous production, Kubrick’s film received a wide release in the summer of 1980; the reviews were mixed, but the box office, after a slow start, eventually picked up. End of story? Hardly. In the 30 years since the film’s release, a considerable cult of ‘Shining’ devotees has emerged, fans who claim to have decoded the film’s secret messages addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to a range of government conspiracies. Rodney Ascher’s wry and provocative ‘Room 237’ fuses fact and fiction through interviews with cultists and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick’s still-controversial classic.”



Scott Tobias, NPR:

“Stands as a thrilling testament to the fact that art is — and should be — open to interpretation.”

Mary Pols, Time:

“A love story about movies and their meanings.”

Manohla Dargis, New York Times:

An ode to movie love at its most deliriously unfettered.”

Tim Grierson, Deadspin:

“Will make you love ‘The Shining’ all over again.”

Christopher Campbell,

“Like ‘Slacker’ mixed with any DVD commentary by a film critic.”


“A fascinating study of ‘The Shining’ and all the real and imagined secrets these interviewees have spent the greater part of the their lives obsessing over.”

Matt Singer, ScreenCrush:

“More about the interpretation of all movies than just the interpretation of ‘The Shining.'”

Kevin Kelly, Film School Rejects:

“I imagine double features of this movie followed by ‘The Shining’ itself will become popular late-night showings.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum,

“At once entertaining and reprehensible.”

Armond White, CityArts:

“An embarrassment to the intellectually ambitious Kubrick.”

Room 237” is now playing in limited release and available on VOD and iTunes.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox