Taken from my website Slasher Movies Uncovered. For more great horror reviews use the link: http://slicendiceslasherfilms.blogspot.com
In 1976, Brian De Palma directed the first ever adaptation of a Stephen King book. "Carrie" too the world by storm with its shocking content, and it's realistic look at the angst of teenagers. This movie is tied with "The Shining" as the best Stephen King movie, and I can't ever see any other being better.
The movie begins at a volleyball game. At this tournament, we meet Carrie White. Carrie is an outcast, a "weirdo," and she is picked by everybody. After the game is over, all of the girls go into the locker room to shower. This scene was so masterfully done, because everything is in slow motion, and there is a beautiful soundtrack in the background. Every shot of the camera is so intricate and beautiful, and it shows how careful of a job the filmmakers did. Even though everything seems fine at first, Carrie then has her period, and everyone starts throwing tampons and such at her. She then has a nervous breakdown as this happens, until her teacher Miss Collin saves her. Miss Collin and her principal allow Carrie to go home, and this is much to her reluctance. We then meet Carrie's crazy and abusive mother Margaret, whom is a radical "Christian," yet she basically tortures her own daughter. With all of these horrible things happening in her life, there is also something very weird taking place. Carrie worries that she may be a telekinetic. She is able to shatter mirrors, move objects, etc. She learns that she can use these to her advantage, as a way to get back at all of the people that had been cruel to her. This results in one of the most shocking proms to ever exist, and a change in the life of many.
The cast in this movie is one of the most superb lineups ever. Sissy Spacek blew me away as Carrie, because she is such a likable girl, and one really feels so much sympathy for her during all the hardships she goes through. She also really knows how to portray so many emotions, whether they are kindness, panic, or complete insanity. Piper Laurie really freaked me out as Mrs White, because she was so convincing in the role of a mentally imbalanced woman. She would try to act kind at moments, but then she would be completely psychotic with her brutal behavior toward her daughter. The way that she projects herself is truly scary, because it almost seems like the behavior is natural for her. I really liked William Katt as Tommy Ross, because you could really sense the good in his personality, even though he is one of the populars that picked on her. He just had a very charismatic presence to him in the way he acted, and seemed to care a little for Carrie. Betty Buckley was exceptional in her role of Miss Wilson, mainly because of her ways to realistically change personality. There are moments where she will be the sweetest and most laid back person in the world, and then in a split second she will become completely furious. Amy Irving was pretty cool as Sue, because much like Tommy, she was completely likable, and she really let off the vibe that she liked Carrie. The most hated character of the movie is Chris, and she was played by Nancy Allen. Even though she was attractive by looks, she had the worst personality in the world, and Allen portrays this perfectly. She played the role of a cruel, heartless, and shallow girl that wanted nothing but to ruin the life of Carrie. John Travolta came in as a close second as the biggest jerk in the school as Billy. He was a rude, abusive, and dumb punk that had no redeeming qualities. I thought that Travolta did a good job at the role, because he is usually so likable, but in this one one can't help but hate him.
I mentioned earlier that the cinematography in the opening scene was amazing, but this actually takes place throughout the entire movie. Mario Tosi had such a genius way of capturing the mood and environment in his camera work. When there was peace, the lighting was bright, which made it feel like a dream(or actually one). I think the most clever use of this was when Tommy and Carrie dance at prom together, because she must've felt like it was unreal. When the darkness of Carrie's revenge came about, the screen tinted red, which made it scary as can be. During the scenes where Carrie gets very scared, the camera really zoomed into to her expression, because the look on her face showed better than anything of how she felt. Overall, I think that this aspect of the film was brilliant, just like "The Shining," and it is really a big part of why the movie is still a masterpiece now.
Being the movie was released close to 40 years ago, there are many activities that take place that are extremely dated. The first is the fact that Miss Wilson has the ability to strike her students, which would not fly now. The next is when Billy drinks and drives casually. Even though this still happens now, it would not be shown as lightly as it was in the media. While none of this hurts the film in any way, shape or form, I just found it funny to compare society in present to then.
The climax of the film really starts at prom, where life is looking good for Carrie. The romance between her and Tommy begins, and it really felt good for her to find someone to be close with. The scenes where they dance and such really gave me chills, because they were both so happy, and the chemistry between the two actors was absolutely priceless. Sadly, the happiness can't be forever, and some unnamed characters do something horrible to Carrie. My heart literally split in two when this happened, because Carrie was so likable, and the fact that I had to see her be hurt again was just awful. I loved how even though people talked, all of the sounds were drained out. Because of this, all we see is lips moving, and I feel that this really shows the shock that people were feeling at the time. Right after, the iconic scene takes place. Carrie gets her revenge..... This scene was so shocking that my eyes bulged out of my head. Everything turned into a disaster, and it was like hell broke loose. Even after she leaves the dance, the vengeance takes place. This really effects everyone that surrounded her in life, and even herself. I really found this climax and ending to be perfect, because every moment was unexpected, and they engrossed my emotions majorly.
"Carrie" is much more than your typical movie, because it is also a movie about adolescent life. You get both spectrums of these years, which are the magical moments, and the times of great pain. Even though Carrie's life is probably a lot harder than most, there are still little things that everyone can relate to. Whether it's bullying, abuse from family, or just pure loneliness in the world, everyone has experienced at least one of those. Outside of the negative moments, we also get to see Carrie go through her first love, which is something that everyone does at some point. The girl also witnesses /causes death in the film, and this is relevant because every teenager goes through loss. So overall, the underlying messages of the movie helped it set itself apart.
It is rare for me to feel the way that I did after watching this movie. I was completely flabbergasted by what I had seen, yet totally in love with the masterpiece I had experienced. "Carrie" is most definitely one of the best horror movies ever. I would actually go as far as to tie it with "The Shining," because they both gave me the same effect. I highly recommend this movie, because it will be a movie that makes you cry, a movie that makes you cringe, and a movie that will freak you out in every possible way.