Saturday, October 30, 2010

SOTW: Carrie (1976) Review

Carrie is an outcast at school who gets bullied mercilessly by the popular girls. She's raised by her religiously fanatical mother who keeps her in the dark about normal life and what it means to be a teenage girl.

When something embarrassing happens at school, the popular girls seize the opportunity to really give Carrie hell. Miss Collins, the gym teacher is shocked by their actions and punishes them all by giving them week-long detention. Chris in particular, the ringleader of the popular girls, blames Carrie for her punishment getting in the way of her social life.

After a series of seemingly coincidental events, such as a locker-room lightbulb exploding, her mirror breaking into pieces and the principal's ashtray flying across his office - all during emotionally stressful times for Carrie, she begins to realise that she has telekinetic powers. While she struggles with both this realization and her mother's judgement, Chris is busy planning a punishment of her own...

This movie is based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King and as with many of his stories, it is not an all-out horror. Personally I didn't find it to be too scary, but rather very sad and relateable for anyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in.

Carrie is an outsider everywhere that she goes. The people at school mostly hate her, her mother thinks she is full of sin and accuses her of being a witch (in the Salem/Satanic tradition). Whenever things start to look up for Carrie, she is quickly put back in her place.

I thought that Carrie's eventual revenge would be a relief, like an outlet for your own anger at bullies and people who take joy in putting others down, but instead it was very sad, seeing that there was no-one that she could turn to, and that she felt that these were the only measures she could take to stand up for herself.

'Carrie' has a great cast including John Travolta and Piper Laurie, but for me Sissy Spacek steals the show. Her performance in the lead role is brilliant. She is sweet, seemingly innocent, and really captured my attention. I felt so sorry for her, even during the climactic scenes. The ending had me in tears.

Maybe 'Carrie' is not the 'thrills and chills' movie for your lively Halloween party, but really do give it a try sometime. I was surprised by how moving it was.


  1. Nice take on Carrie, especially about how sad & true it is. It's weird that a gory paranormal horror movie would be one of the most honest, relatable high school movies of all. Isn't Piper Laurie terrifying, "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and all? And what's scarier, she's not much different from many real parents of non-telekinetic children.

  2. I'm glad you liked the review. Piper Laurie is indeed terrifying and one of the worst possible parents imaginable for a vulnerable teenage girl.(Great actress though - she also made a strong impression on me as Catherine Martell in Twin Peaks.)
    Sad to think some kids actually live in these kind of households and feel like they can't get comfort from their parents. I feel like Stephen King really got the loneliness and desperation down that you can feel as a teenager.

    - Miss Daiquiris