Carrie

Movie review by
Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
Carrie Movie Poster Image
Stephen King's disturbing prom horror classic.
  • R
  • 1976
  • 98 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 56 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some teens are portrayed as cruel and calculating bullies. A religious zealot uses her fanatic beliefs to abuse and control her daughter. Some characters, including a gym teacher and a fellow student, try to help a timid young girl who is being bullied.

Violence

A woman hits her daughter and locks her in a closet. They eventually both try to kill each other, the daughter out of self defense. Bullies hit and push a girl. A teen boy slaps his girlfriend around and a teacher slaps students. A teen girl uses her telekinetic powers to destroy a high school gym, killing everyone in sight. Death scenes include electrocution, a fiery car wreck, and being "crucified" and impaled by knives and other sharp kitchen utensils.

Sex

Teens make out in a car; at one point the girl is shown bending over the boy's lap, and it's understood they're engaging in oral sex. Young women are shown nude and in various stages of undress in a prolonged locker-room scene, which is filmed in slow motion. In the scene, a girl gets her period for the first time; blood is shown running down her leg, and bullies taunt her by throwing tampons and sanitary napkins at her. A woman who is a religious zealot describes sex as dirty and refers to breasts as "dirty pillows."

Language

Some profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "ass."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens are shown drinking beer; a woman drinks a cocktail while watching TV.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although it's far less graphic than other horror movies, this film adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel of the same name does include some fairly intense, emotional scenes of violence, death, and destruction. Carrie's mother is abusive to her and even threatens her life. In the oft-mentioned bloody prom scene Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to massacre everyone out of vengeance for a vicious prank and bullying behavior. A long locker room scene shows girls undressed and a Carrie getting her period, then teased.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymany lain February 17, 2013

what parents should know about carrie

I am a mother who loves paranormal movies along with my one older daughter who is 12.We love ghost movies but we hate violent slasher films. carrie is a great h... Continue reading
Adult Written bystevenspielbergfan July 18, 2012

Lots of blood and gore.

Teens consume alcohalic beverages, get killed, swear, and have oral sex. Not a kid's movie at all.
Teen, 14 years old Written byAttack Attack July 21, 2009

Loved it!

I really enjoyed this movie, cause I really felt for Carrie White. She was having such a good time at prom, and I felt for her when she was pulled a prank on. H... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySACYUC September 11, 2010

I LOVED IT!

A classic. Just loved it!

What's the story?

Although it's billed as a horror movie, CARRIE is just as much a poignant story of a bullied, lonely teen. With her stringy hair, mousy appearance and beaten-down posture, Sissy Spacek gives a heartbreaking performance as Carrie, who is tormented by her high school peers and abused and extremely sheltered by her religious-zealot mother. Meanwhile, Carrie struggles to understand the power she has to make objects move with her mind (telekinesis). She experiences a brief period of happiness after a popular boy asks her to the prom and a concerned gym teacher (Betty Buckley) takes Carrie under her wing. But that happiness is short-lived thanks to a cruel prank, and Carrie unleashes her telekinetic powers in an explosive act of revenge.

Is it any good?

This is probably the best film adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Carrie helped launch the careers of several young performers, including Spacek (who received an Oscar nomination), Amy Irving, John Travolta, and Nancy Allen. Almost painful to watch, the opening shots of a volleyball game and the girls' locker room depict the vicious bullying Carrie endures. The climactic prom-night scene begins with a breathless, Cinderella-like feel; the interaction between Carrie and her date, Tommy (William Katt) is sweet and hopeful, and Spacek looks radiant. This scene, however, becomes terrifying after some cruel bullies send Carrie over the edge. Director Brian De Palma's use of a split screen, combined with the music and Spacek's chilling transformation, creates an unforgettable scene of carnage.

Veteran actress Piper Laurie is disturbing in her Academy Award-nominated role as Carrie's holy-rolling, psychotic mother. Buckley's character, Miss Collins, emerges as a protective, encouraging influence; her scenes with Carrie are tender, bittersweet, and sadly futile. But it's Spacek's sensitive portrayal of a troubled girl that elevates this movie beyond mere horror.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles the issue of bullies and their victims. Does Carrie's school appropriately deal with the students who pick on her? How does this '70s horror movie compare to some of the real bloodbaths you see today? Is it more or less scary and effective?

Movie details

For kids who love horror

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