Carrie Screen 8 articles

Carrie

1976

Carrie Poster
  • This 1976 thriller, about a high school outcast (Sissy Spacek) who uses her telekinetic powers to massacre the graduating class, contains a number of interesting ideas. But as with most of his films, De Palma can't keep track of them, and by the last reel everything blows up in his face. He's an overachiever—which might not make for good movies, but at least he's seldom dull.

  • I’ve had shifting or confused responses to many things in Brian De Palma’s baroque bloodbath over the years... these little goofy touches that help situate the film in its moment, reminding us that even our most lauded directors are subject to the injustices and embarrassments of time.

  • Carrie, a profoundly sad horror comedy about a dumped-on, telekinetic outcast whose late-blooming menstrual cycle and sexual maturation react violently with her fundamentalist mother's psychological chastity belt, is the film in which De Palma discovered that his destructive sense of humor could be synthesized with his graceful visual sensibilities in a manner that would accentuate both.

  • De Palma’s grasp on King’s material is never in doubt: this is a truly throat-grabbing horror movie, sporting a handful of pitch-perfect set-pieces, not to mention one of the few examples of effective split-screen. Sissy Spacek’s performance in the title role is close to flawless: she was 27 when the film was shot, but looks barely half that, and this otherworldly combination of maturity and innocence adds to the film’s unsettling tone.

  • It begins and ends not in blood but in bleedings, horrifying transfers of what we keep desperately contained within our bodies at all cost, and as such it is a film that itself metaphorically bleeds, spreading though every crevice of its diegesis, mapping out the creepily familiar and labyrinthine space of monstrosity.

  • The ethereal and the grotesque, voluptuousness and brimstone, De Palma the inquisitive artist and De Palma the baroque showman, all in combustible balance. Keats’ "The Living Hand" figures in the closing stinger, a vision of soft-focus harmony denied harshly, uproariously.

  • De Palma's ballsy formal irony – mystically fogged slow dollies of the female locker room, an accelerating spinning shot of slow dancing to deceivingly suggest romantic bliss – is used to hypnotic effect, seducing the eyes even as it lays bare the ugly cosmic imbalance that ushers Carrie towards eternal insecurity. Still one of the most relentless portrayals of all-encompassing adolescent anxiety in cinema...

  • The first, arguably best Stephen King novel birthed the first, arguably best filmed Stephen King adaptation. In Carrie’s classic climax, every element speaks to the detailed work of art director Jack Fisk and cinematographer Mario Tosi: the color palette, the lighting, the editing, and especially the split-screen. The scenario comes alive: the stage, the doors, the decoration—Fisk’s work has a semiotic quality, and normalcy becomes infernal under the framing and tempo of a master like De Palma.

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