Viewed in a modern context, ‘Carrie’ is a more troubling film than it might have seemed to audiences in 1976, from the opening sequence of naked teenage girls gliding around a shower room in soapy, soft-porn slo-mo, through a bizarrely extended sequence of those same girls being put through their paces on the sports field, to the climactic scene of brutal matricide. As a film about women written and directed entirely by men, it does sometimes feel distanced and exploitative, as though author Stephen King and director Brian De Palma are peeking, ‘Animal House’-style, through that locker room window, and concocting furtive adolescent fantasies about the strange creatures they see there.
But 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.
Cast and crew