Roman Polanski's terror classic shows us, in simple but effective terms, the horrors that lurk inside a troubled psyche. While obviously working on a shoestring budget, Polanski recreates with disturbing impact the strange and unsettling horror of a mind that has begun to turn upon itself. Carol Ledoux (played brilliantly by Catherine Deneuve) is not on a strong emotional footing as the story begins: she's at once compelled by and terrified of her sexual needs, and she displays an unhappy emotional distance from others that suggests a mild form of autism. When Carol is left alone after her sister leaves on vacation, her fragile connection with the rest of the world gives way, and. as she isolates herself in her apartment, Carol's mind fragments into a hallucinatory state, which Polanski manifests on-screen with an apt surrealism. Within the increasingly grim and shadowy confines of the flat, revolting images of rotting food and buzzing flies mingle with things that shouldn't or couldn't actually be there, and Polanski's impressionistic use of odd angles, visual distortion, and blunt, shocking violence make Carol's world seem as frighteningly alien to us as it must be to her. Polanski is aided immeasurably by Deneuve's performance; she's the only person onscreen for a large percentage of the movie, and the understated realism of her madness makes the film all the more convincing, demonstrating that the human mind can conjure images far more terrifying than can a special effects crew with a huge budget.