I’d heard of Carrie and its infamous prom sequence, but thought nothing much of the film itself. So, imagine my surprise when I saw it had made the 1001 list. Carrie was the first film adaptation of a Stephen King work, and as such it remains a trailblazer in many ways. Mostly, though, it is remembered for the prom sequence, and now after watching the film, it’s easy to see why, and it’s the main qualm I had with the film’s presentation.
The main problem I had with the film was that aside from the beginning parts which set up the characters and the settings of Carrie’s world, the entire rest of the film was nothing but a lead up to the prom scene. The film seemed to exist for no reason other than to build up to the prom, and for a film to exist entirely for the sake of putting a single sequence on celluloid, to me, spoke to the shortcomings and the lack of substance of the main body of the film; the point was that the film didn’t actually have a point. Now, aside from this, there were a few other parts of note. De Palma seems to be a real fan of split-screen focus shots, with the composition split between elements in the extreme foreground and background both separately in focus. This occurred often enough in the beginning that it started to get a little repetitive, but I forgave the film somewhat for wanting to indulge in a few stylistic shot choices. Where the film does succeed is in how it sets the mood, and keeps it pervasive throughout the entire film, though that’s mostly as a result of having the entire film focus on the prom sequence, but it helped regardless.
Both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were nominated for Academy Awards, and I’m not sure both really had done enough to warrant it, though Laurie is excellently devious and cold-hearted as the religiously fanatic mother. Aside from that, though, there was nothing else to talk about with this one; it was all just there for the sake of the prom scene, which while succeeding at being the main sell of the film still wasn’t worth making an entire film just for it. Carrie is effective, yes, but there just wasn’t enough material here to warrant a film that ran for over an hour and a half.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10