When Carrie was released I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that every trailer basically gave away the entire plot. This is a remake, yes, but how many teens today have actually watched the 1970s Sissy Spacek original? It’s just strange to think that a girl covered in pig’s blood at the prom has become one of the most recognizable and enduring visuals of American film, and that people will pay to watch it happen all over again.
Or maybe it’s not that surprising. Carrie is the stuff of a million teenage nightmares, and just as many teenage revenge fantasies. Forty years hasn’t diminished the Stephen King’s novel. The medium in which bullies work may have changed, but the basic story hasn’t.
I have seen the original Carrie, but it was a long time ago and my memories of it are hazy. All of the most memorable scenes from the Brian De Palma version are recreated here, though: teenage girls pelting Carrie with tampons and pads while chanting “plug it up!” as she gets her first period in the locker room shower, Carrie’s insanely religious mother insisting her daughter shouldn’t attend prom because “they’re all going to laugh at you,” the infamous pig’s blood prank. I knew exactly what was coming, but I still enjoyed watching this version. What this take on Carrie does differently is bring a little bit of the 21st Century into the plot. Carrie’s humiliation is compounded by the fact that her classmates record the shower incident on their cell phones and upload the video to YouTube. This isn’t a huge plot point, but it was a good acknowledgement of how the face of bullying has changed since the 70s.
A lot of the credit for this movie goes to its star Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a talented young actress and is a joy to watch. However, Moretz’s Carrie doesn’t quite hit the mark. She’s just a little too pretty and a little less awkward than she should be. I don’t quite believe her as the perpetually bullied protagonist when she’s interacting with her classmates. When she shares scenes with Julianne Moore, however, her performance is more believable. Moore is perfect as Carrie’s religious fanatic mother. You may hate Carrie’s classmates, but Moore is the real bully here.
While I enjoyed Carrie, I’m interested in watching the original again for comparison. I’ve read reviews that De Palma’s version is better, but I’d have to see it for myself. Carrie is simply a teenage revenge fantasy, so I would expect a certain amount of cheese factor in any adaptation. Still, it’s entertaining and more than a little satisfying to watch her kill her tormentors.
I was very impressed with this film. It would have been so easy to turn this remake of the 70s classic, based on the novel by Stephen King, into just another teen horror flick, but the great performance by Chloe Moretz elevates Carrie above your standard teen horror fluff. I am a big fan of Chloe Moretz. Ever since she was the best thing about Kick Ass as an 11 year old, I have watched her career with great interest. She has always impressed me, not just with her ability, but with the mature projects she chooses. I really hope she is able to move on from being a child star to a bonafide adult actress, because I’m really interested to see what kind of things she does as a grown up. I’d hate for her to go the route of a Lindsay Lohan and end up being not much more than a punch line for late night talk show hosts. From what I’ve seen on her Twitter and Instagram pages though, she seems to have a smart head on her shoulders and a solid support group from her family.
This updated interpretation of Carrie follows Carrie White (Moretz), a sheltered young teenager who has recently begun attending public school after being home schooled her entire life by her religious fanatic mother, Margaret (Julianne Moore). The other kids are quite mean to her, particularly Chris Hargenson (Portia Doubleday). They make fun of the socially awkward Carrie at every opportunity, you really feel sorry for this little girl who has never had the opportunity to interact with other people. She has spent most of her life locked away with her nutty mother. I’m sure I don’t have to go into too much detail about what transpires here. Carrie is bullied throughout the whole film, despite the best efforts of a nice gym teacher (Kitty Sanchez) and one of the other popular girls (Gabriella Wilde) who begins to feel bad about how Carrie is treated by her fellow high schoolers. During the course of the film, Carrie realises she has telekinetic powers and can move things with her mind. She harnesses this power and eventually uses it to devastating effect during the film’s climax, when a prank goes horribly wrong during senior prom. I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone here, I really try to avoid spoilers on this blog, but given that the original movie came out nearly 40 years ago, I feel safe in talking about the ending here.
The acting from the two leads in this film is top notch. Julianne Moore is really creepy as Carrie’s religious nut mother. I couldn’t look away when she and Moretz were on screen together. Moore is able to convince the audience she really is crazy, but still loves her daughter in some weird way. Moretz is the best thing about this film though, she is so innocent as Carrie, she is able to really make you feel sorry for her when she is bullied at school. So much so that you are rooting for her when she goes nuts at the end and kills everyone. I’ve never been as excited about a killing spree as I was for this film. The teenagers are really horrible to Carrie, and I was really happy to finally see them get what they deserved.
The only negative I can say about this film is the CG effects could have been better. When Carrie uses her telekinetic powers, a lot of times it looks decidedly B grade. I’d have enjoyed the film a little bit more if the effects were up to same standard as Moretz and Moore’s great performances. A large part of Carrie’s character is her telekinetic abilities and when she uses them, it does detract a little bit from Carrie and Moretz as an actress. These effects can look a lot better in other films and it is a shame director Kimberly Peirce was not able to get some more cash in the effects budget.
I really enjoyed this film. I was on the edge of my seat watching this, waiting to see those awful teenagers get what was coming to them. When it finally does, it is rewarding. I can’t say enough about Chloe Moretz, I really am excited to see what she does next. If you’re a fan of her work, be sure to check out the underrated Let Me In.