Perhaps one of the only genuinely good Stephen King adaptations, Carrie' follows the tragic tale of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a young girl who is continually made to suffer at the hands of her bullying classmates and not helped by her overbearing, religious mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). Carrie, however, is not like regular teenagers as she has been blessed(?) with telekinetic powers and as the inner rage grows within Carrie so, it seems, do these potentially lethal abilities.
Brian De Palma directed this amazingly stylish adaptation of Stephen King's first novel which is arguably the best Stephen King adaptation ever to be made. Sissy Spacek's performance is one of the greatest to ever grace a horror film. Somehow managing to perfectly embody the typical school life of the usual high school outcasts, Spacek was able to bring to everyone the appalling life that so many teenagers are forced to tolerate. From the opening scenes where Carrie is utterly humiliated at the hands of her classmates after Carrie's hysterical reaction to her first menstruation, to the painfully wretched ending it becomes nigh on impossible not to sympathise with Spacek's character. Spacek was quite rightly Oscar-nominated for this performance. Spacek's performance was enhanced by fellow Oscar-nominee Piper Laurie in the role of the religious-nut Margaret White. In some ways the naivety shown towards Carrie and what is happening to her is amusing but at the same time it is terrifying to think that any mother could allow her daughter to go though such a generally horrendous life. Piper Laurie was able to make this all too abhorrent character her own with a thoroughly convincing and unsettling performance.
De Palma cleverly directs this movie. Instead of immediately introducing us to Carrie's powers he focuses on the torment (and the tormentors) of Carrie first. This allows the viewer to feel for Carrie and will her towards revenge while ensuring that she is not made into a one-dimensional killer. The movie is very well paced and is presented in a brutally clear fashion. De Palma refrains from using any visual effects with the exception of the infamous `Prom Night' scene which was incredibly well crafted and immersed the viewer in this horrifying display of rage. The final twenty minutes of Carrie are some of the most intense and gripping moments to have been portrayed in horror cinema. These scenes without a doubt helped to build one of the most artistic and and incredible climaxes in all of film.
Carrie' is not for those who just want to see people sliced up or prefer fast-paced horror as it is presented as a heart-breaking drama with a horrifying twist. The magnificent cast (which features John Travolta in an early role) was also graced with fantastic performances from Betty Buckley as the kindly gym teacher and Nancy Allen as Chris, the deplorable ring leader of this atrocious bullying. In my opinion Carrie' is unquestionably worth a look for horror fans. 'Carrie' is very well directed, with a superb screenplay from Larry Cohen and featuring two of the greatest performances in horror. My rating for Carrie' 9/10.