The Film (5/5)
Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a teenage girl whose Mother Margaret (Piper Laurie) has intentionally kept her withdrawn from the world around her. So when Carrie gets her first period in the shower after gym class rather then finding herself in the midst of a normal occurrence, Carrie thinks she is bleeding to death. She soon finds herself overtaken by her classmates who pelt her with tampons and pads making the already difficult incident more horrifying.
Feeling guilt for her participation in the pelting, Sue Snell (Amy Irving) arranges for Carrie to get taken to the prom by her popular boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt). Carrie doesn't exactly believe Tommy when he asks, but eventually agrees to go. Meanwhile, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) and her boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) are working to pull a prank on Carrie at the prom. What they don't know is that Carrie has telekinetic powers, and that she isn't about to be walked all over any more.
Carrie is quite possibly the ultimate outsider horror film. Sissy Spacek plays Carrie as a true misfits. Quiet and reserved, a passive observer to the society around her, always looking in, but never able to participate. In all other adaptations of Carrie the lead actresses do fine work with the part, but Spacek seems to have a certain raw quality that taps a emotional nerve. Her Carrie White is minimalist and restrained, and all the more relatable and later terrifying because of it.
The rest of the performances are also fantastic from Amy Irving as Sue Snell to Nancy Allen as Chris. John Travolta is doing his best John Travolta here as he plays Billy Nolan, but it works well. Of course, special mention has to be made to Piper Laurie as Margaret White who may be the one villain in a horror film to truly give me nightmares. Her performance as a true religious fantatic is truly unnerving stuff, and while the bullies in Carrie's life are awful enough, knowing that Margaret is what she had to come home to it makes her plight all the more terrible.
Brian DePalma's direction is, of course, spot on. He directs the film with a very soft focus look as if making the audience nostalgic for an era they were living in, and even more so with 40 years past. His sense of pacing is impeccable, as the film builds up quite an air of suspense throughout it's running time as we get closer to the prom, and Carrie's inevitable revenge.
Carrie has been released before by MGM early in Blu-ray's lifecycle by MGM and the results while an upgrade from DVD were not spectacular. The 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded Blu-ray from Shout! Factory is an upgrade all over the place. The film is very soft, but the transfer renders that well, detail looks fantastic, grain is solid and natural, and handled nicely. There are nice deep blacks, and colors especially during the third act prom sequence are gorgeous and pop from the screen.
Scream offers a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a 2.0 mono track both in English and subs are provided. Both tracks are quite solid with dialogue, score, and ambient FX coming through nicely. I did not detect any issues with the track.
Scream Factory has loaded up Carrie with extra features. There is a horror's hallowed grounds exploring the current state of the film's locations. We also boat loads of on-camera interviews with various members of the film's cast and crew. There is a trailer reel for Carrie franchise films, and the film's theatrical trailer and much much more.
Carrie is a film that truly stings. Carrie is a horror film from the perspective of a true outsider, and between DePalma's direction and the powerful performances it has a power that really last to this day. The Blu-ray is a major step up from all prior releases and is loaded with extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.