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DVD: Carrie (2002)
Review Rating:   Standard  
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1 (NTSC)

August 12, 2003



Genre: Supernatural Horror / TV  
In the TV version of the Stephen King classic, awkward yet telekinetic Carrie gets revenge against her tormenting high school classmates.



Directed by:

David Carson
Screenplay by: Bryan Fuller
Music by:  
Produced by: David Livingston

Angela Bettis,  Patricia Clarkson,  Rena Sofer,  Kandyse McClure,  Emilie de Ravin,  Tobias Mehler,  Jesse Cadotte,  Meghan Black,  Chelan Simmons,  Katherine Isabelle,  David Keith,  Laurie Murdoch

Film Length: 132 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.33 :1
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:   English (Dolby 5.1) / English, French & Spanish Subtitles
Special Features :  

Trailer for "Carrie" and DVD trailers for "The Fog," "The Howling," and "Jeepers Creepers" plus teaser for TV show "Dead Like Me"

Comments :

Brain DePalma's 1976 big screen version of Carrie remains one of the best Stephen King adaptations, so it's no surprise this “re-imagined” TV version bears some striking similarities, including key dialogue sometimes identical to Lawrence D. Cohen's film script.

For the 2002 version, screenwriter Bryan Fuller took advantage of the longer running time – the teleplay originally ran in a 3-hour time slot – and wrote a few slower-paced scenes that add to Carrie White's intense difficulties in coping with abusive classmates, and her religiously psychotic mom. It's hard not to compare DePalma's version with David Carson's teleplay, but a major advantage lies in the excellent cast, with teenage characters performed by actors far closer to the actual age group. (A classic drawback of seventies teen films lies in 25 year-old giants performing angst-ridden youths – a practice that immediately reduces believability, unless the actors manage to suspend disbelief as Sissy Spacek achieved in her own remarkable performance as the titular character.)

MGM's full screen transfer is very clean, with a rich colour palette and fine details, including digital effects that come into play for the film's climax. Though made for TV and shown on a major US network, the frank subject matter and nudity of the feature film is faithfully transposed to the small screen, and it's nice to see a TV production that didn't tone down or shy away from the book's controversial imagery. Bryan Fuller's tight script is less affected by the now-manic ad breaks that can occur between 11 and 8 minute segments; brief fadeouts are the norm, though viewers will certainly develop a feel for natural and forced pauses between scenes.

“Carrie” is also one of the first TV movies to use high definition video cameras with a film-look shutter, and the visuals add a certain documentary quality to King's dynamic story. The flaws of the system tend to appear when a camera pans across multiple objects, and the overall image is affected by a soft, fuzzy focus, though it's less distracting than one would expect. There's some contrast issues as well with the system's inability to handle high contrast lighting, but overall it's still a well-designed production, offering a good mix of interior and exterior locations.

Very few TV productions take advantage of discreet audio channels, and while a decent mix, the Dolby 5.1 for “Carrie” feels more like a basic 2.0 mix, with an average balance between sound effects, dialogue and music.

The teleplay's full screen trailer is included, along with a teaser for the Showtime TV series “Dead Like Me” and the MGM/UA DVDs of “The Howling,” “The Fog,” and “Jeepers Creepers.”


© 2003 Mark R. Hasan

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