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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Carrie (1976)



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Brian De Palma does a mostly serviceable job of bringing Stephen King's novel Carrie to the big screen. De Palma has a way of selling scenes that would otherwise be quite routine. But the film has two fundamental problems. One, the story is not great. It has potential but is fundamentally flawed by overselling the antagonism toward the main character, especially at home, to the point of unbelievability, and finally wrapping things up in a way that does not provide thematic closure to what has come before.

Two, De Palma's pacing in the climactic scenes is all wrong. At first, he goes ridiculously overboard drawing out Carrie's humiliation, and then it becomes confusing: it's hard to tell what's happening to the characters we care about in the ensuing chaos.

I'm on the fence with this movie. It's an uneven but occasionally inspired adaptation of a memorable but flawed story. This makes it difficult to embrace without reservation, but difficult, too, to dismiss.

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