Friday, November 8, 2013

Netflix Friday: Carrie (1976) Review

Even though Halloween has come and gone, Brian De Palma's literary adaptation of Stephen King's first novel Carrie is still streamable via Netflix.

Perhaps our initial reaction to this classic horror movie was to question whether it can really be classified as a member of the horror genre. Carrie is not a scary movie. It does have arguably one scary moment, but it's not going to make anyone wet themselves, unless you just happen to have a spectacularly weak bladder. 

But horror movies are a broad category, and while Carrie is not frightening it does unquestionably encapsulate the eerie, unsettling criteria that are part of the genre. 

For instance, the movie incorporates the famous sounds of a screeching violin, playing tribute to Hitchcock's Psycho. The school is also named Bates High after the iconic film's motel. 

Carrie could theoretically fall under many categories, the film giving off multiple messages. 

It can be called an anti-bullying propaganda movie, a revenge film, or even spell binding suspense drama. 

If you're unfamiliar with the premise of Carrie, it is about a telekinetic teenage girl who is bullied by her classmates to the point of using her powers against them.

The movie opens with a slow, mystical scene of high school girls changing in their locker room after gym class. The scene comes without warning, surprising the audience; it is portrayed in a way that a teenage boy might envision such mysterious moments. 

You might consider this an ironic scene, as the lack of inhibition and nudity suggests innocence and playfulness amongst those that are neither innocent nor playful. There are also a few shots of Carrie bathing herself in a shower, which might be her only moment of respite, free from the torment and abuse of her classmates and mother. This would contribute to the scene's surreal atmosphere. 

The movie progresses predictably, and while there honestly isn't a great deal of plot to the movie, it nevertheless is effective in its execution. The movie works because we understand Carrie. We all know someone who is like Carrie. When she lashes out, we understand her motivation.

It's a suspenseful movie. Even knowing the outcome, you might find yourself squirming in your seat, wishing for Carrie's safety. The last twenty minutes of the movie are intense and engrossing as the movie builds to its dramatic conclusion. The very last moment of the movie is unpredictable, and I believe you'll agree that it's a perfect conclusion for this story. 

Byron: 3/4 stars

Kyle: 3/4 stars

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