Article 4864 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Brian De Palma
Featuring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
What it is: Stephen King adaptation
A young, timid girl (whose mother is a mentally unstable Christian fanatic) becomes the target of cruel teasing by her fellow classmates, the latter of which are punished by detention. Several of them plot a horrible revenge, but are unaware that the girl has developed telekinetic powers…
I blow a bit hot and cold on De Palma, because sometimes I find his stylistic excesses and obsessions to be more annoying than exhilarating. However, this is one of his triumphs. He wisely keeps the stylistic flourishes under control for the first half of the movie so the viewer can absorb the superb performance from Sissy Spacek as the title character; she brings so much life and humanity to Carrie that we end up caring about her immensely. The stylistic flourishes only come into play when they enhance the story and add to the atmosphere; they feel natural and organic here. Piper Laurie is also very memorable as the insane mother, and Amy Irving does a find job of playing up the ambiguity of whether she’s involved in the revenge or not. The movie proved to be a big boost to the careers of De Palma as well as Stephen King, who would soon emerge as one of the most popular horror writers of all time. And even if I’m not really fond of the final little shock moment (it seems a little forced to me), I will admit that it is exquisitely timed.