Read the shortlisted Under Her Eye reviews then vote for your favourite.
As part of Stylist’s Under Her Eye initiative, we’re on the hunt for three new female film critics. We asked aspiring reviewers to send in a 450-word review of their favourite film – and after an overwhelming response, we’ve whittled it down to a shortlist of 20.
I’m guilty of throwing someone a filthy look and imagining something unsavoury happening to them – did it just this morning when a rude man bulldozed his way onto the tube instead of waiting for me to get off first. So, there’s something wickedly satisfying about watching Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) shoot her huge Bambi style dagger eyes in the direction of her tormentors and move objects with her mind to exact revenge, after being humiliated at her high school prom.
Carrie drew me in with such raw, guttural aplomb balanced with the horror of bullying and vengeance. This was made in the seventies - super evident from the massive hair (including the men), fashion, cars and music but I was glued to the screen from start to finish.
Carrie is a meek girl, shielded away from the facts of life by her overbearing religious zealot of a mother (Piper Laurie) and a pariah at school. The opening scene shuttles through a high school locker room in slow motion as girls brush their hair and mess around by snapping bras at each other [like you do]. The camera centres on Carrie, naked in the shower, face like an angel, alone and removed from the mayhem of her classmates.
As I watched the camera switch from the rinsing water between her legs (this would have passed for soft porn before the internet came along), back to Carrie’s face where the look of confusion and rising panic becomes palpable when her bloodied hand comes up and she registers that she’s bleeding and has no idea why. Her pleas for help from her classmates, accelerates into screams of hysteria when they laugh, throw tampons and chant “plug it up.” It’s carnage, only ending when Miss Collins, the gym teacher (Betty Buckle) finds a hysterical Carrie crumbled on the ground; then a light bulb explodes as she lets out one final piercing screech.
You’re not sure what happened until it happens again in the Principal’s office – this time an ashtray at the centre of Carrie’s rage after she’s repeatedly called ‘Cassie.’ She’s truly invisible, nobody sees her, not even her ‘mama’ who tells her she’s sinned against god, being ‘punished’ with her period and locks her in a cupboard to pray on it with a creepy Jesus crucified doll.
The tormentors get a week of gym detention and one of the ringleaders (Chris played by Nancy Allen) mouths off, gets a slap from Collins [Childline and lawsuits have a lot to answer for] and booted out of prom. Nancy swears payback with dippy boyfriend (John Travolta) and gets her chance, when bestie - Sue (Amy Irving); does a 180 and asks boyfriend (William Katt) to do something genuinely nice for Carrie by taking her to prom. Be careful what you wish for. No spoilers but a cocktail of sabotage, anarchy and telekinetic rage is executed ingeniously.
Carrie deserves the [prom] crown in Stephen King polls for its innovative juxtaposition camera angles, stellar cast of leading ladies and #dirtypillows.
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