Horror, Supernatural Horror, Teen Horror
A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
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Carrie, the novel by Stephen King, just celebrated its forty year release anniversary a few days ago on April 5th. Since then, we've had not one, not two, but three adaptations of that story, as well as a sequel to the original film and a Broadway musical adaptation. I think that shows that this is a story worth telling, but did it need to be told again? The original is widely regarded as a classic, and Sissy Spacek had already done a hell of a job with the role. Still, there's always room for one more telling of a tale, so I finally sat down with this one.
Review by Chad
Added: April 10, 2014
The plot hasn't changed in those forty years, but in case you're new to it, here goes. It centers around Carrie White (ChloŽ Grace Moretz), a teenage girl who is a social outcast at her high school thanks to the upbringing of her religious zealot of a mother (Julianne Moore). Mother dearest insists that her daughter is the walking incarnation of sin, and that everyone and everything around her is a horrible influence. Her outlook on life isn't exactly disproven when Carrie experiences her first period in the shower at school, leading to a hysterical outburst from her and merciless teasing from her classmates. They get in trouble for their actions and the tension begins to build, and it's not a very pretty picture for anyone involved, especially when the gym teacher (Judy Greer) goes above and beyond to punish those students.
Meanwhile, Sue (Gabriella Wilde) - one of said classmates - feels guilty for her involvement in the incident, and decides to redeem herself by setting her boyfriend (Ansel Elgort) up with Carrie on a prom date. After all, what girl doesn't dream of a perfect prom night? Unfortunately, Chris (Portia Doubleday) - the ringleader in that oft-mentioned incident - is particularly upset about her punishment, and she decides to make prom night a night that Carrie will never forget. Oh, and did I mention that Carrie has recently discovered that she has telekinetic powers? Yeah, that's a fact that the student body at this high school will soon discover.
I have to say, this telling of the tale did a lot right. For starters, I thought that both of the leading ladies were great in their roles. ChloŽ Grace Moretz is perfect as Carrie, bringing the much-needed vulnerability that is crucial to making the character work, and she's also great when it comes time for the shit to hit the fan. I wasn't a big fan of her Harry Potter-inspired hand motions when using her powers, but that's more a fault of the script than the actress. It was also neat that, after all those adaptations of the story, this is the first time that the role of a teenager was actually filled by a teenager.
I also thought that Julianne Moore was great as the mother - maybe not perfect, but great is definitely a word that I would use. She comes off as appropriately crazy and satisfyingly loving when needed, but just a little too over the top from time to time. Going over the top is not always a bad thing, but she does go a little too far at times. There's "real" crazy and then there's "movie crazy" - there's two or three scenes where she treads into the latter and slows the momentum.
Alright, the performances are out of the way - what about the movie itself? This version of the story is a mish-mash of the two original sources, with the novel itself being the obvious one, but the 1976 film is also borrowed from at times. There are a few new things added to this version, but you'll definitely be disappointed if you're looking for a completely fresh take on the story. Again, this isn't something that is bad by default, but I thought that it was worth mentioning with this being the third adaptation.
Moving on, I thought that the, ahem, final scene at the prom was done exceptionally well, and I really enjoyed watching Carrie get her revenge on those who wronged her. Again, I'm going to go back to the Harry Potter thing and say that it looked like she was casting spells at times, but I'll let it slide. The only thing that really dragged that scene down, as well as a few other scenes in the movie, was the quality of the CGI effects. There are times when it works well, but there are other times when it comes off as incredibly amateurish. There's no way to sugarcoat it, so I'm just going to come right out and say it: it looks bad, folks. Some scenes look like they were originally intended to be in 3D, with things coming flying at the screen, and it just looks silly. It's not something that completely kills the movie, but it certainly doesn't help it.
Overall though, I'm going to give it a modest recommendation for fans of the novel and / or the original movie. I wouldn't say that it's better than either of those versions, and it certainly won't be remembered for as long as they will be, but it's still an acceptable telling of the tale. It's not amazing and you shouldn't rush out to catch a viewing, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't get some enjoyment out of it. 7/10.
- added 04/10/2014, 10:34 PM
I saw the original every day in the theatre for
it's run. So, it's thoroughly embedded on my
brain. The script for this is so close to the
original, there are scenes they didn't even bother
to change the dialogue. The only true difference
is youtube and cell phones. Moretz (I'm going to
see Moretz in her off-broadway show next Sat) and
Moore are excellent. But, the direction and style
of the film completely lets down the performances.
Because you can watch this and the original side
by side, and scene for scene everything in the
original is classic and original. This version is
worse than a cheap knockoff.
This is a
version made for teens who refuse to watch
anything made before 2000. Worst remake I've ever
- added 10/09/2014, 10:26 PM
Really liked this one myself; pretty nice update.
Moretz was damned good. It's a shame that anyone
who takes on this role will be stuck in Sissy
Spacek's shadow. Wasn't a fan of Julianne Moore
though. She just couldn't toe that overacting line
enough for me.
- added 10/18/2014, 12:40 PM
I kind of agree with George on this one. And I
actually liked the 2002 made-for-tv remake
starring Angela Bettis better than this because at
least it tried to do something different. 5/10