Review Date: October 28, 1999
Released by: MGM
Release date: 9/29/1998
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: No
The movie Carrie is based on a best-selling Stephen King novel. MGM released a spectacular standard DVD release for this classic film. Lets take a look at the DVD.
Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is different than the other girls. She has a special power called telekinesis, which is the ability to move objects using thoughts alone. She is also a shy girl with no friends in school. Her shyness is worsened by her psychotic mother who is on a religious rant in life and tells Carrie nothing about the ways of womanhood. We first witness Carrie's special power when the film opens. Carrie is taking a shower after gym class and during the shower she receives her first period. Carrie has no idea what is going on and thinks something is seriously wrong with her. She runs, naked, to the other students in the locker room for help, but they only taunt her by throwing tampons at her. Once the gym teacher comes to assist Carrie is in such a state of shock she makes some of the overhead lights explode using her telekinetic powers.
The girls who made fun of Carrie are punished for taunting her. They must go to detention for two weeks which will be under the supervision of the gym teacher who will make them do rigorous exercising throughout their detention. Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen), one of the first students to taunt Carrie during the opening shower scene, decides to plot revenge. Sue Snell (Amy Irving), one of the other students to taunt Carrie, decides to help Carrie and talks her boyfriend Tommy Ross William Katt) into taking Carrie to the prom.
Chris has been banned from the prom for refusing to exercise during her attention. She decides to use Carrie's appearance at the prom to execute her revenge against Carrie. Carrie ends up being the center of attention at the prom and for once is happy in her otherwise miserable life. Just when it seems Carrie has reached her ultimate happiness at the prom, Chris executes her revenge and humiliates Carrie in front of everyone at the prom. Pushed to the brink of insanity, Carrie sets out on a rage of destruction using her telekinetic powers.
I'm a big Stephen King fan and while I haven't read this book, I do enjoy this film quite a bit. Though most Stephen King novels tend to be superior to the movie, I can only say I'd be amazed if that turns out to be the case here. This movie is full of tension, happiness, sadness, hate and pity. Director Brian DePalma did a terrific job bring Carrie to the big screen. Some of the scenes throughout the climax that display Carrie's emotions are brilliant. Brian splits the screen into two and three sections to show Carrie's intense rage in one shot while displaying her acts of revenge in the other shot(s).
Sissy Spacek is perfect in the role of Carrie. She is extremely convincing her portrayal of Carrie White. Throughout the film I really felt a sense of pity for Carrie. Seeing her character in high school with absolutely no friends and a psychotic mother was very convincing and depressing. Yet towards the end of the film you feel both a sense of joy and sadness as Carrie first gets her moment in the spotlight, and then gets her revenge after being humiliated.
Carrie is presented widescreen in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The picture is crisp and clear with very few scratches or speckles appearing. The blacks are solid and all colors appear well balanced throughout the film. I saw no signs of artifacts. Excellent job done by MGM on this one. Only complaint would have to be the lack of a 16x9 transfer.
Dolby Surround 5.1 re-mix was terrific. There's mostly dialogue throughout the majority of the film so you don't hear too much activity from the rears or subwoofer until the end sequence when all hell breaks lose. All dialogue and sound was extremely clear throughout the film.
This is where the DVD is a little disappointing. The only extras included are a theatrical trailer and an 8-page insert that details the making of the film, the actors challenges in getting their roles and the challenges of portraying their characters in the film. There was a Criterion laserdisc released in 1991 that contains a handful of extras, including an audio commentary. It wouldn't been nice to see some of those extras make it onto the DVD.
Terrific film! Should not be missed by any horror movies buff. This is truly a classic film and I don't hesitate that everyone run out and buy this film immediately. While lacking a bit on extras MGM delivered in the quality department, regardless of the lack of a 16x9 transfer. Lets just hope someday MGM will treat us to a deluxe special edition of this film with commentary from Brian DePalma and actress Sissy Spacek, plus an anamorphic transfer.
Movie - A
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - C
- Running time - 1 hour 38 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital Mono
- Theatrical trailer
- 8-Page booklet feature trivia, production notes and a revealing look at the making of the film