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Brian De Palma's commercial breakout, based on a novel by Stephen King, helped launch a whole slew of teen-based horror films, and... Read More
Brian De Palma's commercial breakout, based on a novel by Stephen King, helped launch a whole slew of teen-based horror films, and Carrie the blood-spattered prom queen has taken her throne in the pantheon of modern American myth. High school girls played by Amy Irving (in her film debut), P.J. Soles, and Nancy Allen plot to avenge themselves on ostracized fellow student and budding telekinetic Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) after they get in trouble for pelting her with tampons. When they get popular boy Tommy Ross (William Katz) to be her date for the prom, the stage is set for some heart-rending cruelty and fiery retribution. De Palma expertly uses split screens, slow motion, color filters, and tracking shots to imbue the proceedings with a haunting, allegorical elegance. Piper Laurie plays Carrie's mentally ill, devoutly Christian mom; she's brilliant, as is Spacek. John Travolta has a memorable pre-SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER role as one of the girls' beer-guzzling boyfriends. There was finally a sequel in 19... Minimize
61 Reviews from Epinions.com
Feb 4, 2001
Pros: Excellently adapted from Stephen Kings book, has not dated since it was originally made.
The Bottom Line:
I recommend that if you are a fan of Stephen King you should watch it, it is an excellent adaptation of the book.
This is the film adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Carrie White (excellently portrayed by Sissy Spacek) is a shy and unassuming schoolgirl who is the brunt of her classmates jokes. This is mainly the fault of her overbearingly religious mother Margaret White (Piper Laurie) who preaches the gospel to everyone and everything, including her own daughter.
The film begins as Carrie is showering after her gym lesson and she suddenly begins to bleed. Carrie has been taught nothing about puberty by her mother so has no idea that this is her first period and is a completely normal part of growing up. She automatically thinks that she is bleeding to death and begins to scream. The other girls in the changing room cannot believe her reaction to this and they take it as an opportunity to taunt her further by throwing sanitary towels at her while she cowers in the corner. The ringleaders of this are Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) and Sue Snell (Amy Irving).
Their taunts are brought to a halt by their gym teacher, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley), and Carrie is helped away to get dressed. Miss Collins is also amazed that Carrie knew nothing about puberty but is sympathetic and takes her to the Principal in order for her to be allowed home. It is during this meeting that we are given the first clue that all is not well.
Once Carrie arrives to her house she immediately wants to know why her mother did not tell her anything about the changes that occur during teenage years. Margaret White believes that girls who begin to menstruate have given in to the sins of the flesh, which in turn causes the blood to come. She punishes Carrie by locking her in a room so she can think about what she has done. However, the beginning of menstruation is not the only change in Carrie and as a result, dormant telekinetic powers are awakened in her.
In the meantime, Miss Collins punishes the other girls by giving them detention after school. Chris Hargenson is a reluctant attendee of this and refuses to take part in any of the activities given. As a result of this insolence her tickets to the prom are taken away. She is really unhappy about this and blames Carrie for her misfortune. Chris decides to take revenge on Carrie for this so enlists her eager boyfriend, Billy Nolan (John Travolta) to help her in this quest. Sue, on the other hand, regrets her actions and is determined to make amends. She does this by forgoing her own ticket and persuades her boyfriend, popular football player Tommy Ross (William Katt), to ask Carrie to the prom.
He does so but at first Carrie thinks that it is another practical joke. She is advised otherwise and reluctantly accepts his invitation. Carrie even allows herself to become somewhat excited at the prospect of attending and makes her own dress for the occasion. She is also becoming used to her new-found powers and is beginning to stand up more to her mother, in particular when she lets her know that she is going to the prom. News soon travels about whom Tommy is going to the prom with and Chriss evil plan is hatched.
Prior to the dance Billy and his friends carefully plant buckets full of pigs blood in the rafters of the school gym above marked points. On the evening of the dance the votes for prom king and queen are sabotaged by Chris in order to ensure that Tommy and Carrie are voted into these roles. Up to the point where the results of the vote are announced Tommy finds that he is really beginning to like Carrie despite being reluctant to attend with her originally and they enjoy a romantic dance together. It is from the point where the King and Queen are announced that events take a dramatic turn as Chriss plan unfolds.
The buckets are released and soon the screen is covered in crimson. Sue is at the prom but is hiding under the stage to make sure Carrie has a good time without being seen. She realised at the last minute what was going to happen but was powerless to stop it. Carries powers are sent into overdrive and as she walks out of the gym a trail of carnage is left in her wake. Many students and teachers are killed, including Miss Collins, Chris and Billy. Carrie arrives back at her home as if nothing has happened until her mother appears and aggravates the situation further. Carries powers now seem to spiral out of her control resulting in the death of her mother and Carrie herself as the house collapses to the ground.
This has to be one of the best movie adaptations of a Stephen King novel ever made but even the detail I have gone into here comes nowhere near close to the true horror/brilliance of this film. It is a must for any Stephen King fan and I also strongly recommend it to those who are not familiar with his work because you will be pleasantly surprised. I also recommend that anyone should read the novel as it goes into much greater depth about the characters involved and the events that occur as Carrie leaves the school gym. All of these factors lead to a greater understanding of why and how things happen especially if you watch the film first and are left confused by certain parts of it.
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