Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Carrie (2013): Review

Carrie is a 2013 supernatural horror remake. Directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) and starring Chloe Moretz (Let Me In, Kick Ass) and Julianne Moore (Hannibal). The film is a remake of the Brian De Palma classic and based on the same Stephen King story.

Much like the original, the film follows the teenage angst of Carrie White (Moretz), a troubled girl who has been abused so much by her schoolmates that a telekinetic ability has been awakened. To add to her troubles, Carrie is also abused by her rabidly right wing, religious mother (Moore) who regularly berates her and locks her in a small cupboard for being a “sinner”. After the opening sequence of the film (which will be familiar to fans of the original) some of the more ruthless students are banned from the prom, leading to a cruel plot to humiliate Carrie White and unleash her telekinetic rage upon the town.

The main problem with this remake is a misjudgement in tone and a miscasting in its lead actress. The beauty of Sissy Spacek’s Carrie White is that she was frumpy and weird enough to sympathise with but still somehow relatable as a girl next door type. Moretz, on the other hand, is an objectively pretty girl and no amount of “uglifying” can lead me to fully invest in this incarnation of the character being an outcast or freak. The tone and look of the film is markedly different to the original, which you’d expect considering how firmly rooted in the 70s it was, but for me this seemed to lean towards the melodramatic and overblown. This is summed up particularly well by the film’s ludicrous take on the original’s infamous shock ending.

Having said that, I do feel that the film’s climactic “prom rage” sequence does somewhat improve on the originals by virtue of its bigger budget and less than subtle effects. From levitation to pyrokinesis and some impressive automobile based telekinesis it makes for a much more intense and climactic payoff to the rest of the film and far closer to the plot of the original novel. The only other thing on offer to hold the viewers attention is Moore's spot on portrayal of Carrie’s demented mother. Piper Laurie’s Performance in the original is a tough one to top but Moore puts a lot of energy and zeal into the character making it equally as memorable in this incarnation.

It almost seems cliché nowadays to say that this is a pointless remake of an iconic 70s horror film but I’m afraid I’m going to have to opt for this opinion once again. The original film is not only an iconic adaptation of one of King’s finest creations but one of the jewels in DePalma’s auteur crown. Peirce wisely avoids a shot for shot remake but ends with a mostly dull retread, perhaps the modernising of the story will appeal to modern day teenagers but for me there really wasn’t much to see here.

*** 3 stars

What did you think of Carrie? Was it faithful to the original?


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