7 March 2011

Ally's Review: Carrie

Great choice this week from Fin. It’s the first time I’ve seen Carrie in a number of years and it was excellent to get reacquainted with this classic.

Watching it in 2011 is probably a very different experience from 1976. You have to remind yourself that while many elements of this film now feel well-trodden, this was the pathfinder. There are many aspects of this film that still feel incredibly fresh though. Chief amongst them is the standard of acting. Sissy Spacek really is superb in the lead role as the abused teenager who is finally pushed too far. Even in her epic rage it is hard not to sympathise with her because we’ve really felt and understood her plight, and subsequent reaction. Her mother (played to perfection by Piper Laurie) is unbelievably creepy - amping up the evangelical zeal to the max. It’s a shame she didn’t know about the Westboro Baptist Church at the time, she would have felt right at home.

The film obviously can boast some serious movie talent in its credits. A story based upon a Stephen King novel, great actors (and John Travolta) plus direction by Brian De Palma. De Palma does an excellent job throughout and while I could mention several examples of his skill, I want to acknowledge the brilliance of one scene in particular...

During the Prom, when Carrie and permed high school hero Tommy Ross finally dance, the camera spins around the couple faster and faster to convey the dizzying happiness that Carrie is experiencing. Shots like this make Carrie and De Palma such a widely respected movie and director, respectively (although it did make me feel temporarily nauseas!) Very few horror movies can boast that level of craftsmanship.

Sadly, the happiness does not last and what we see is perhaps the most thorough and violent revenge ever witnessed. It is horrific and tragic...and quite a lot of fun too.

Still a great movie after all these years. Is it going to terrify you? Probably not, to be honest. However, it still remains an incredibly creepy and enjoyable movie thirty five years after its release. It is a compelling story, superbly acted and directed.

It’s a consensus classic of the genre, so you can’t miss it.

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