European softcore stylings introduce the film but once Carrie gets her first period, her newfound womanhood unleashes a crescendo of telekinetic horror. DePalma creates a strangely realistic and relatable depiction of high school bullying, stylising it as a soft-focused, cathartic daydream and dropping into weird sex-centric religious horror territory when necessary. The entire prom scene is a cinematic feast.
Not De Palma's most formally ambitious, and the fact that Carrie is waylaid out of narrative suggests that he'd also rather spend time with the cool kids. Spacek sells it though, both in her alienation and the speed with which she shows she's willing to adapt. It's in this conflict that the film prevails, the accident of nightmare-fulfillment when some try to break tradition. It's all in those final shots of Spacek.
****1/2, at least. In addition to its many timeless virtues (let's overlook that mercifully brief fast-motion bit, shall we?), at this moment, in this context, it plays as a perfect allegory for the inferno in which well-meaning, vague liberals who idly fancy helping -- but have little basic understanding of -- the downtrodden, excluded, and non-professional/non-colleged (of all colors) have now found themselves....
Had watched it a long time ago, but watching it again it has a whole different meaning to me. It is devastatingly sad. And oh how I hate Carrie's mother! And this feeling remains the same! And that girl with that stupid red cap too. I felt so nervous when Carrie got on stage that I had a twenty second migrane... that's how intense it gets.
(...)De Palma war bis dahin kaum in dieser Disziplin aufgefallen und im Grunde später auch nicht. Wir kennen von ihm mit Liebe gezeichnete Comic-Charaktere in überdrehten Filmen. Nie hätte man vermutet, dass De Palma, der sich gerne so protzig mit Oberflächenreizen begnügt, so tief gehen kann! (...)