(Review originally written at 9 November 2007)

The movie is often classified as an horror movie and it also is on basically every horror top-list published, but truth is that this movie isn't really an horror movie in terms of having all of the standard required horror elements. I just say this as a little warning, since I have the impression that lots of people are watching this just because of the reason that it always tops all kinds of different horror-lists. It still is a movie with unpleasant and oppressed undertones and yes, it's of course based on a Stephen King novel, so it's totally understandable that this movie is classified as an horror movie, but it's not the kind of horror you would expect. The movie is far from standard, which is perhaps the biggest reason why this movie works out as such an horror like one, but in totally original way of its own. The characters and situations are all unpredictable. You never know what to expect, which adds to the atmosphere of the movie.

But the movie is also really powerful and effective as a drama. I remember when I first watched this movie I was still too young to be able to read the subtitles, so there was no way I could understand what the movie was about, but I could still totally feel for the main character and feel her fear for her mother and at school. It's of course also absolutely thanks to Sissy Spacek's great performance that this comes across so effectively. It makes you feel and sympathize for the main character, even though she is a really unusual person and extremely shy, insecure person. I think that everyone had a sort of Carrie like person in their class at high school (althouh I hope not as extreme as this one!), which also makes it easy to relate to the events and characters within the movie.

I was also surprised at some of the light and fun elements within the movie. Apparently also some of the actors thought they were making a comedy during the production of this movie. Some parts of the movie really reminded me of some good old fashioned high-school comedies. But of course the comedy goes never at the expense of the movie its tension or dramatic elements. The comedy just makes sure that this movie isn't a complete dark one. The comedy is used to draw the people more into the movie and makes us feel more at ease, rather than pushing them away with only heavy distant drama and an uneasy atmosphere. I think Brian De Palma did a really good job at this! The best horror and tension also works out best when a movie makes you feel at ease first, rather than constantly trying to scare you, also with its atmosphere.

Yes, the movie is also still a real Brian De Palma movie, so expect lots of unusual, artistic and often long shots. The movie has some typical De Palma moments in it, especially toward the ending during the prom. He also knows to build up the tension and a sequence in a way only he can. It's part of the reason why the ending is such a legendary one.

The whole end-prom sequence is really an extremely memorable and brilliantly shot and constructed one, also once again thanks to its wonderful build-up of the inevitable events to come. It's one of the most extreme and totally straight-forward sequences, which makes sure that it will stay with you forever.

For most part the movie also works out so great due to its acting. All of the student characters are very authentic and it helps that they are being played by not the greatest actors around. Let's face it, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen and William Katt never really became the famous respected actors everybody expected them to become in those days. Sissy Spacek really plays the role out of her career as Carrie White. You totally feel and sympathize for this girl. And Piper Laurie also plays a totally great and effective character, that perhaps is the most evil and scary one out of the entire movie, as the religious-freak and mother of Carrie. Also of course the early- and quite big movie role for John Travolta in this movie is already sort of a legendary one.

It's truly an unique movie to watch. There never had been a movie like "Carrie" before and there almost most certainly won't be another one like it. Brian De Palma himself tried it a couple of years later with his movie "The Fury" but I think that experience made him realize how totally unique in its sort "Carrie" actually was and still is.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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