With the opening of “Carrie,” we see a brutal horror unfold with main character the titular Carrie White taking a shower during gym class and discovering the horror of her first period. She’s a girl who’s never really been given an explanation on anatomy or biology thanks to her religiously fanatical mother, and is terrified. Sadly the predators in her class that revel in bullying Carrie torment her by throwing tampons and towels at her as she screams. While the scene itself is jarring and the epitome of the cruelty Carrie inexplicably receives, it’s also the implication that ultimate evil has been realized. Though it’s mostly hinted at by Carrie’s mother, Carrie, despite being a good person at heart, is also pure evil personified.
Upon first glance, you’d think Brian DePalma directing a Stephen King Adaptation would be something disastrous. DePalma has spent most of his early career emulating Hitchcock, and delivering cerebral gems like “Sisters.” It’s a treat though that he ends up becoming one of the most crucial elements of “Carrie” and its adaptation. Because what the director can’t convey through special effects, he conveys through some amazing camera work and editing that still wows me to this day. “Carrie” is easily one of the best horror films, and revenge films ever made. It’s a brilliantly cast and deeply tragic story of a girl whose powers became the judgment day for many cruel individuals who preyed on the innocent.
When a heist goes awry, Laure Ash poses as a woman, stealing her identity and sets out to live a straight life while attempting to dodge two of her ex-partners out for vengeance and a photographer who wants her picture for the tabloids. I was literally stunned by DePalma’s (Carrie, Blowout) visually engrossing direction that so eloquently depicts every action of the story he is trying to tell. He is the master of the split screen which he uses to emphasize character motive and personality. At times, there were scenes so incredible, I just had to rewind and see it all over again. He pays attention to every small and seemingly adequate detail from the largest of street settings to confined spaces such as hotel rooms. One of my favorite scenes is where the character Bardo sits along his balcony top watching Ash from across the street; though he doesn’t know what he’s in for yet, he’s oddly intrigued, and another of the best scenes where Bardo fights off an aggressive pursuer of Ash where Bardo steps in begins to fight him. DePalma doesn’t show the fight except relies on sound and imagination as we watch the silhouettes of Bardo fighting off the attacker while he slowly closes in on Ashe’s face who is reacting to the entire scene like a snake watching her prey fight over her.