Celebrating 46 years of terror, Brian De Palma’s brilliant adaptation of Stephen King’s masterpiece, Carrie returns to disc with a brand new three-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory. With a new 4K scan and Dolby Vision HDR, the film looks fantastic maintaining the stylized dream-like horrors with crisp clean details coupled with three audio tracks, and hours of informative and interesting bonus features. Highly Recommended.
As we’ve already covered Brian De Palma's Carrie a couple of times now, I’ll link over to those past reviews momentarily. For a moment though I just want to highlight this film as an often-forgotten top-tier Stephen King adaptation. With such a massive catalog of novels that made their way to the big screen, it’s easy for some films to get overshadowed but I feel like Carrie doesn’t get enough love or reappraisal. Sissy Spacek was phenomenal in the lead delivering an amazingly intense and human performance of a young girl terrorized at home and at school and scared to death of what she’s becoming.
The scenes of bullying and cruelty are still as haunting and upsetting today as they were nearly fifty years ago when this film hit theater screens. You empathize with Carrie’s torment and hope she someday gets to enjoy a normal life. But it’s a Stephen King story so “normal” doesn’t exactly enter into the equation. Terror and horror come in many forms with this story and De Palma perfectly captured King’s novel on film. No sequel or television remake, or big-screen remake can touch this genuine horror classic.
High-Def Digest previously reviewed Carrie on Blu-ray:
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
46 years after terrorizing theater screens Brian De Palma’s Carrie invades 4K Ultra HD with a new three-disc Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory. The 4K is pressed on a BD-100 with the 1080p version getting a Region A BD-50 disc with bonus features getting another BD-50 disc. The discs are housed in a three-disc case with individual trays and are not stacked with identical slipcover artwork. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
After scoring an already impressive Blu-ray release in 2016 from a then-new 4K scan, Scream Factory gets another date with Carrie with a new Dolby Vision transfer sourced from a new 2022 4K Scan. I’m not exactly sure about the necessity of another 4K scan but regardless the effort was worth it. Between Brian De Palma’s love for process shots and split screens with cinematographer Mario Tosi (with uncredited work by Isidore Mankofsky) and all of the hazy blown-out dream-like shots, the film was always going to be a unique offering on 4K and I’m largely impressed with the results. Softness in a variety of scenes remains a sticking point and some of the split-screen process shots still come off a little gamey, but by and large, this is another notable improvement for this title on disc. Textures and fine details are cleaner and sharper than before allowing you to fully appreciate those up close and uncomfortable shots of various cast members’ faces. Grain is still on the noisier side but it still has a welcome cinematic quality.
The Dolby Vision pass doesn’t outwardly alter the color space offering nice enhancements to primaries - yellows and reds see a lot of action throughout the film and they look terrific. Over the 2016 disc, this does look a tad bluer in places, but when you look at skin tones or the clothes of various characters, they look correct. As an example, the gym teacher’s hoodie is naturally bright blue while the girls’ gym shirts are bright yellow without shading issues. Skin tones are healthy without looking too pinked or too pale (and not orange) - Carrie is always supposed to look a little malnourished and that’s been maintained here. Much like the 2016 disc over the old 2008 disc, this new 4K’s black levels see another big boost improving image depth while enhancing shadows and dark spaces mitigating the serious crush issues that plagued earlier discs. All around I’ve very pleased with this release.
Carrie fans can choose from three audio tracks for this release, a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono, a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, and a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. All are solid options but I would personally opt for the Mono or Stereo tracks over the 5.1. The 5.1 one does offer a decent soundscape to work with but it also can feel a little thin at times looking for reasons to spread away from the front/center channels. Busy crowd scenes work well, a rain storm at a pig farm is an appreciable example, and of course, the film’s big climax comes in well. But the 2.0 Mono just feels more natural and at home with itself without sounding thin. The Stereo track offers some more channel spread but it keeps things tighter and more intimate than the 5.1. Dialog is clean and clear through all three tracks without issue there. There’s still some slight sibilance on those hard “S” sounds but thankfully they’re not too distracting and likely just an artifact of the original recordings. All in all three healthy options to choose from.
Scream Factory gave fans the overbearing motherload of bonus features with their 2016 Collector’s Edition and they’ve thankfully brought back those materials for this go around. I hadn’t looked at them again since my initial review and it was fascinating to see some of these materials again. If you never picked up that disc or went through the bonus features, definitely give them your attention, it’s a lot to pick through but it’s worth the time and effort. The audio commentary with De Palma historian Joseph Aisenberg is certainly well worth a listen! I still think it's amazing that Carrie and Star Wars were cast in the same room at the same time - I like to imagine De Palma and Lucas getting into a fistfight over who got to cast Harrison Ford over John Travolta.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc One
Blu-ray Disc Two
Brian De Palma was no stranger to horror or thrillers by the time he took on adapting the hottest book on the market. Given his past films, he was a natural fit for this telekinetic psychological horror story about a young girl with rare powers pushed into becoming a monster by experiencing horrible cruelty. Beautiful and horrifying at the same time, Carrie may be nearing its 50th Anniversary but it still sticks today. Scream Factory takes Carrie to the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray prom with a fantastic three-disc collector’s edition. The new Dolby Vision transfer is often stunning with impressive details and a natural cinematic appearance. You get three solid audio options to choose from now and the collection of bonus features are well worth digging into. Highly Recommended.