Carrie is not a remake but another adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Call it what you wish, remake or adaptation, but it’s one of those that shouldn’t have been made in the first place. It isn’t a bad film and there’s not much wrong with it but it simply isn’t worth it. If the film neither improves upon the original nor offers a new side to the story, it’s a superfluous proposition. The 1976 film was a fantastic horror-thriller directed by Brian De Palma, who was in his prime in the late 70s and 80s. This new version is a watchable movie but nothing more.
The lead actors are well cast. Chloe Grace Moretz plays Carrie White. A shy misfit who doesn't know how to interact with the outside world. It would be unfair to compare a much prettier Moretz to a much refined Sissy Spacek. Piper Laurie was diabolically demented in the original film. The mother in this film is played by Julianne Moore who can add weight to any role. She doesn’t go the way Laurie went and sticks to a more warped version of a woman who heavily misinterpreted the Bible.
We have iPhones and YouTube in this 21st century update of the story. We see scenes of Carrie playing with her powers, learning to control them and there is more humanity to her but it only scratches the surface. A story like Carrie’s deserves to be retold but not this way. By this way, I mean a superhero origin story. Were they going for a franchise starter like Chronicle (2012)? I was surprised how a story like this could be treated this way. It seems like an interesting idea but in retrospect, it’s definitely off-track.
One thing that made me step away from giving this film a favorable review is that it is not made in 1976 but 2013. After America has seen violence in schools, especially tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook, a filmmaker tackling this material must be aware of its social disposition. The film doesn’t need to give us a commentary on what causes violence or how to deal with it but it’s one thing to depart from reality and another to ignore it.
The big moment in Carrie comes in the climax. Brian De Palma filmed this prolonged sequence with technical bravura and achieved unflinching terror. Knowing what will happen made me wish it didn’t happen. At least that it didn’t happen the same way. Kimberley Peirce tries something new with it. No, we all won’t laugh at your for it but we won’t applaud either. There are a few moments where we see originality but it doesn’t go the distance. After all the mayhem, the ending doesn’t seem to cut it. It feels stacked on and makes the entire experience unnecessary.
There is a lot to like in this movie but not much to love. If you have seen the original film, you wouldn’t want to give this one a try. The new Carrie can be seen by someone who hasn’t seen the original but I'd advise you to discover the better one and take the first Carrie to the prom. I dare you!
(That’s just a dramatic tagline from the movie. I don’t actually dare you.)view less