"Carrie" is one of the best 'classic' horror films. Based on Stephen King's thrilling novel, "Carrie" has been wonderfully adapted by Brian DePalma, providing unforgettable thrills and chills.
Carrie (1976, Blu-ray)
Directors: Brian De Palma
Producers: Paul Monash
Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen, Stephen King
Features: * Trailer
Sissy Spacek ... Carrie White
Piper Laurie ... Margaret White
Amy Irving ... Sue Snell
William Katt ... Tommy Ross
Betty Buckley ... Miss Collins
Nancy Allen ... Chris Hargensen
John Travolta ... Billy Nolan
P.J. Soles ... Norma Watson
Carrie Blu-ray Review
Portions of this review were taken, and edited, from DVDFuture writer George's review of "Carrie."
"Carrie" is one of the best 'classic' horror films ever made. Based on Stephen King's thrilling novel, "Carrie" has been wonderfully adapted by Brian DePalma, providing unforgettable thrills and chills. Films like "Carrie" are not gore/scare fests like most of today's modern horror flicks. Rather, "Carrie" is meant to build suspense, culminating to the horrific finale.
"Carrie" centers around Sissy Spacek's character, Carrie White. Carrie is a social reject and the subject of much ridicule in her high school. She has no friends and no support group of any kind. At home, she is punished by her mother (played by the amazing Piper Laurie), a religious zealot who has emotionally scarred Carrie, forever warping her social skills.
Almost everyone is familiar with the basic plot of "Carrie"--abused schoolgirl who uses her powers to wreak havoc on her enemies. But "Carrie" delves deeper into our own subconscious than this simplistic overview of the plot will allow. "Carrie" is a film about deep emotional pain and looming dread.
Carrie herself is not the monster in this film as much as her mother is. Both Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek were nominated for their amazing performances in this film; a surprise since it was, and still is, uncommon for horror films to get Oscar nods. Piper Laurie dominates as the fanatic mother who goes to tremendous lengths to ensure that Carrie is under her all-powerful control. This is woman incapable of grasping reality. She locks Carrie into a room, forcing her to stare deeply into the nearly demonic eyes of a Christ-figurine. This is a flawless portrait of an unhinged, deeply insane woman who's mind has totally unraveled. The ending sequence alone is enough to send shivers down your spine.
But, like all classics, "Carrie" comes with its fair share of flaws, most of which occur because of the film's obviously antiquated 70s trappings. DePalma likes to portray innocence in one scene and then brutality in the next. He did so in the shower scene in "Dressed to Kill," but he really succeeded in doing so in "Carrie." The cruelty dished out on Carrie by her classmates throughout the film makes one cringe. However, I question the way DePalma uses naked women to portray his beauty/innocence motif. The naked shower scene is more fundamentally alluring than it is innocent and pure. It's even cited as a prime example of female nudity in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up."
"Carrie" does manage to rise above its pronounced 70's cliches. It is a film that has already been declared a classic, and will continue to gain fans each Halloween season DVD and Blu-ray versions fill the shelves. The cast did a fine job, including Nancy Allen, who plays a convincing cruel girl. Writer Larry Cohen does a great job adapting King's novel, even making some fun changes that enhance the story, but deleting some aspects of the book that could have made this film even scarier.
"Carrie" comes highly recommended. It's a great horror film. Of course, I always recommend you view any horror film with all the lights out, and preferably alone. It's just the way horror movies are supposed to be watched.
R.L. Shaffer's take on "Carrie"
"Carrie" is a tremendously terrifying film. It gets under your skin and rarely lets up. If ever there was a film about mounting tension--this is it. Shot with Hitchcockian style and flair from Brian DePalma and perfectly performed by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, who both received Oscar nods. From the shocking opening to the shriek-worthy finale, "Carrie" is a true experience in horror.
Film Report Card:
Entertainment Value: A
Film Value: A
Here we go again. MGM presents the film in 1.85:1 widescreen at 1080p/MPEG-2 video on a single-layer BD25 disc. The result is less than stellar. The print hasn't aged well over the past twenty-plus years and it shows. Grain plagues the print, as does dust and dirt. There are even intrusive fluctuations in the color.
Fleshtones are mostly naturalistic. Black levels are a bit flat, lacking contrast and depth. I don't mind a hint of grain, but this print is completely consumed by grain. It's downgrades the quality of the picture, making this print look only marginally better than a DVD. It's an upgrade, to be sure, but a frame-by-frame restoration would have been greatly appreciated. I mean, this is a 'horror classic,' folks.
Slightly better is the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. Dialogue is a bit tinty and muffled, but there is a fairly strong surround presence, with a delicate balance of discrete effects and score floating around the front and rear surround channels. Bass is virtually non-existent and the track only really flies during the finale. But, I imagine this mix sounds better than the original theatrical mix.
How hard would it have been for MGM/Fox to port over the special features for "Carrie?" I mean, really???
All that's here is the theatrical trailer for "Carrie" and trailers for "The Amityville Horror," and "The Terminator." Methinks this was meant to be released a while back. "The Terminator" is an old title.
The most frustrating element is that this is a $30-35 disc with nothing on it! At least make titles like this bargain-bin discs that cost $10-15. Blu-ray disc is about presenting reference quality titles, both in A/V presentation and with special features--the perfect high-def experience as Universal calls it. I know that Fox has recently stepped things up, but again, titles like this are a major setback for new consumers looking to invest.
The film is presented in a blue "Elite" case and is pretty consistent with newer Fox/MGM titles.
"Carrie" is classic horror at its very best. Brian DePalma is at the top of his game, creating a tense experience you'll not easily forget. The Blu-ray, on the other hand, is pretty forgettable. Don't look for it to 'wow' your friends interested in seeing what Blu-ray has to offer. It doesn't provide. Still, fans can finally enjoy this film in high-def.
Blu-ray Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Recommendation: For hardcore fans only. This a a great film, but a bogus disc. Rent it if you want to see it in high-def.
On Blu-ray Disc: October 7, 2008.
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----R. L. Shaffer