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A telekinetic powered girl becomes Senior Prom queen, is humiliated publicly, and chaos and destruction follows in this horror classic by Brian De Palma based on the Stephen King novel starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta.
For more about Carrie and the Carrie Blu-ray release, see Carrie Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 6, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta
Director: Brian De Palma
» See full cast & crew
Carrie Blu-ray Review
Brian De Palma's unsettling picture turns Blu with below average results.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 6, 2009
I've been invited to the prom.
One could write a book on the complexities, undertones, and social commentary of Carrie, citing the simple portrayal of all its characters despite the extremes each of the primaries represent. Brian De Palma's (Mission: Impossible) film is a mesmerizing experience for its simplistic look at how everyday life may go horribly awry, focusing on the dangers of nonsensical confrontation and the heartache it causes, of course intertwined with an element of Horror that punctuates the message. Adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name, Carrie is an elegant film despite its oftentimes static, rather pedestrian direction that is punctuated by moments of unique vision, but the more unremarkable element is what makes the confrontations and the climax so intriguing yet utterly painful to watch. De Palma's style reflects that of his primary character, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek, JFK), who is an unassuming, shy, and innocent young lady that has been sheltered from the ways of the world. Despite her rather homespun countenance and humble demeanor, she harbors inside of her something special, something unique, and something worth understanding that sets her apart from everyone else. Indeed, Carrie is a complex film bathed in simplicity, and it works on numerous levels thanks to its smart story, fine acting, and steady direction.
Carrie White (Spacek) is an outcast at school. She's awkward, shy, homely, and unaware of the ways of the world. When Carrie experiences the first signs of womanhood, she becomes frightened and confused, and her classmates see it as another opportunity to harass her. They are punished by the gym teacher, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley, The Happening), who also slowly but surely befriends Carrie and serves as her sole source of inspiration. Meanwhile, Carrie enjoys a less-than-fruitful home life. Her mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie in an Oscar-Nominated performance), is a religious zealot that refuses to allow her daughter to take part in the ways of the world, seeing sin at every turn and her daughter's every flaw as God's punishment for her own wrongdoings. When one of Carrie's classmates, Sue (Amy Irving), develops a sense of guilt for having tormented the girl, she asks her popular boyfriend, Tommy (William Katt), to escort Carrie to the prom. Tommy reluctantly agrees, as does Carrie, despite her mother's stern objections. Carrie's arch nemesis, the hateful Chris (Nancy Allen, RoboCop), and her boyfriend Billy (John Travolta, Grease), concoct a plan to humiliate Carrie at the prom and put her in her place once and for all.
As noted above, Carrie is more of a Drama than it is a Horror film. It's a moving picture about accepting those that are different and the dangers of not necessarily rejection, but humiliation and disgrace, particularly, as is the case in this film, when combined with an overzealous parent or guardian that selfishly shelters someone from even the basic realities of the world. Carrie certainly enjoys some Horror elements, and the film's climax may be regarded as such, but it is also a Horror film of a different sort -- it depicts the horrors of a young girl who cannot fit in for a myriad of reasons and the destruction of her dreams that are only allowed to burgeon for a short period. Carrie is seemingly able to escape all the wrongs in her life but her reprieve is fleeting; her fate seems set from the get-go, and the story centers on the character's rise and fall at the hands of the world. For all the pressure placed on her, from the bullies at school to her overbearing mother, Carrie is the only normal individual in the film, but she is treated as an outcast by her peers and as something akin to the spawn of Satan by her mother. Only her gym teacher, the caring Miss Collins, and her prom date, Tommy, come to see her as she truly is, but only after they take the initiative to look past her meager superficialities and eschew the stigma that surrounds her to find the beautiful girl trapped inside, a girl that yearns to get out not to supersede the popularity of her peers or to sin to spite her mother, but to be nothing but a healthy, everyday girl. Of course, Carrie is something more, unbeknownst even to herself until she is pushed too far, yet she only uses her unusual powers when taken to the limit by those that would hold her back from her modest dreams.
One of the aspects that makes Carrie work so well are the sweet moments that are intercut with the more disturbing plot line, particularly the interactions between Miss Collins and Carrie, both before and during the prom. Carrie is a character that is easy to cheer for. She has just about everything going against her -- a distrusting mother, homely looks, and a slew of classmates that see her as a punching bag rather than a human being. Sissy Spacek delivers a convincing, honest performance that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. She is sweet and innocent, and even though viewers know something is bound to happen at the prom, they will root against it, just wanting nothing more than to see Carrie enjoy a special night, to live for once, to have a friend, perhaps even a love, to know what it means to have someone to care for her. Tommy, too, comes off as charming and sincere, treating Carrie with dignity and grace, signaling what may have been had those around her given her the same chance he did, whether on their own initiative or otherwise. It takes him precious little time to go from rejecting the idea of taking her to the prom, to almost begrudgingly accepting her, to truly caring for her, and whether it be as a friend or something more, he comes to respect her and see her for who she is and what she has to offer. Brian De Palma's direction, too, sells the film. Carrie is shot so innocently, and the more tender sequences at the prom are presented with such humility that it comes as nothing short of heartbreak when things turn for the worse. This is a case where viewers may not want to see the inevitable climax come to fruition, for all that leads up to it is so genuine and special that it hurts to see its arrival, but it is the film's sweet moments that reinforce the anger and despair of the climax and make it work so well.
Carrie Blu-ray, Video Quality
MGM presents Carrie on Blu-ray with an underwhelming 1080p, MPEG-2 encoded transfer and framed inside a 1.85:1 window. Blu-ray fans uninterested in transfers that feature heavy grain fields and excessive noise will want to avoid this film completely. Grain is ever-present, clearly noticeable in every scene, and serves as the transfer's most noticeable characteristic. Some scenes do clear up a bit, the outdoor shot of Carrie walking home after her dismissal from school early in the film serving as one example. The transfer also appears generally dim and dull, with faded colors, minimal detail, and little in the way of absolute clarity. Blacks are also less-than-stellar, generally ranging between acceptably dark and stable to a medium shade of gray. The film also sees a tremendous amount of overblown whites and a glow about much of the transfer, but these characteristics, like the grain, seem inherent to the source. The prom scenes feature a rather harsh red-tinted lighting scheme that dominates the sequence and compliments very well what is to come for Carrie as the night wears on. Carrie does enjoy mostly stable-looking flesh tones. No doubt Carrie's transfer will be a source of contention amongst Blu-ray fans as they try to balance source material and director intent with the film's Blu-ray presentation. It's likely that the film will never look much better than it does here.
Carrie Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Carrie fails to ignite Blu-ray despite the inclusion of a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless mix, presented in conjunction with the film's monaural audio track. This presentation is front heavy, sometimes sounding detached from the picture. Music plays with a bit of a harsh edge, as do the many screams heard in the film. The track barely sees an improvement over the mono offering; it certainly doesn't spread far from the center channel and offers minimal improvement in clarity. Some rock music played at the prom offers slightly more clarity and realism than does the music heard previous; it delivers some nice lows and spreads out a bit further from the center than do the track's other elements. Only near the end of the film does the track manage to place discrete effects all around the soundstage. It picks up in intensity over the last 20 minutes, sounding fuller and more aggressive than it did before. Of course, this segment offers the only true "action" moments in the film that call for more aggressive use of sound. Dialogue is adequately delivered with no distortions or difficulties with discernment and is the highlight of the track. Carrie isn't meant to sound like the latest and greatest Action movie, and like the video, it's likely presented here about as well as it ever will be.
Carrie Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Carrie fizzles on Blu-ray, offering viewers only a pittance of bonus materials. 1080p Trailers for Carrie, The Amityville Horror and The Terminator are all that's included.
Carrie Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Carrie is one of Brian De Palma's best films. It's a fantastic character study that adds to the mix an element of Horror that only reinforces the plot rather than serving as the focus of the story. The story is one of despair and loss, the tale of a terribly misunderstood and mistreated young girl who only yearns for the most basic of hopes and dreams -- to be normal, to fit in, to be accepted. Instead, she is ridiculed for the sins of those around her rather than her own, and therein lays both the tragedy and the message of the film. MGM presents Carrie on Blu-ray with underwhelming results. The video transfer fails to impress, though it is likely never to look much better than it does here. The same may be said of the audio presentation. Where the disc falters is in the absence of bonus materials; only a few trailers are available, certainly a missed opportunity and a disappointment to say the least. Carrie is a film well worth seeing, but only those that don't mind the absence of extras and do not already own the film on DVD will want to buy this edition.
Carrie: Other Editions
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Carrie Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Carrie (2013) - October 16, 2012
MGM and Screen Gems have released a teaser for Kimberly Peirce's Carrie (2013), a remake of Brian De Palma's classic film, which earned Oscar nominations for stars Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. The remake stars ChloŰ Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and Judy Greer, ...
• MGM Officially Announces Carrie; Amityville Horror - August 8, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment in conjunction with MGM Home Entertainment has officially announced that they are bringing the 'Carrie' and 'Amityville Horror' to Blu-ray on October 7th. Both discs will come on BD-25s utilizing 1080p AVC video and a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio ...
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