"They're all gonna laugh at you." - Carrie (1976)
Carrie (1976) is the film based on one of Stephen King's best novels of the same name. It's about shy, mistreated Carrie (played by Sissy Spacek), who realizes soon enough that she has telekinetic abilities of great caliber. She is bullied and harassed by the girls at school, the adults and anyone else treats her like a nuisance, and her mother is a cynical and evil woman who uses the "word of God" to belittle and berate her every waking moment.
This film is an analyzation of Carrie White. It is the escalation of affliction towards her and the inner turmoil that boils beneath the surface of her skin, trying and eventually succeeding in clawing its way out. It is a spiraling descent into madness from the opening scene all the way to the end, never allowing the audience a chance to breathe. It's a cinematic masterpiece, with riveting exaggerations of characters so brilliantly played by the actors that very little else is needed from this film to completely sell you on it. From the first scene, we are opened up to the nature of her life. Carrie is constantly the subject of jokes and harassment by her classmates. She lacks a single, genuine ally throughout most of the film, and in the end, she is the subject of a truly heinous prank by a truly terrible person.
Carrie's powers show themselves when she is the most emotional. When the principle continuously misstates her name, when the girls mock her in the opening scene, when her mother abuses and verbally berates her, and finally at the end, when the final prank becomes the final straw for her un-managed emotions to wreak havoc. An unforgiving, seething red anger is unleashed like she is fully possessed by the repressed anger and pain she's endured.
Throughout the entire movie, there is a haze-like editing that makes it all feel like a dream until the climactic ending turns it into a bloody nightmare. The use of nudity in this film is far from meant to be sexy. In fact, every time Carrie is seen nude, she is also at her most vulnerable. There are so many underlying moments that help you understand the story of this unfortunate teen.
The provocative use of religion helps move the plot and offer foreshadowing. Her mother is a symbol for a religion that demeans and looks down upon women. She even has her book to a chapter called, "The Sins of Woman." And she continuously forces Carrie to say that Eve was weak. Everything about the female form is what Margaret White and her religion loathe. When Carrie gets her first ever period, it is sin. In the eyes of her mother, Carrie's womanhood is her greatest flaw, and she intends to remind her of that every chance she gets. The acting carries you through every scene. Margaret White (played by Piper Laurie) is an absolute maniacal villain. Her wild eyes, crooning voice, and unwavering brutality aren't the traits of a supernatural villain, but that of one even worse- a toxic and evil mother.
This film is a literal representation of Carrie's loss of grip. A girl whose soul and happiness was pushed into a dark closet, and who is lost on the simple pleasures of positive human relationships, thanks to her mother and peers, spirals outwards and inwards, destroying everything in her path. She was met with her breaking point, and without knowing mercy or kindness, she was unable to show some herself. Even when Carrie is at her happiest, at the prom, there is a subtle unnerving nature to the scene. Not just because you know what's planned, but also the spinning on the dance floor feels more like uncontrollable spiraling; and the slow motion moments feel like an impending doom digging its heels into the viewers' minds.
Jacindable Rating: ★★★★★
starring, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, and more
written and directed by, Brian de Palma, Lawrence D. Cohen, and based off the book by Stephen King