UK Release Date: 29th November 2013
Runtime: 100 minutes
Director: Kimberley Peirce
Writer: Lawrence D Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Alex Russell
Synopsis: A bullied schoolgirl with a repressed, fundamentalist mother discovers that she has telekinetic powers, which manifest with horrifying consequences.
Horror remakes are ludicrously popular with film studios. Everyone knows that by now. And I guess if there’s one thing that genre fans can be thankful for with this remake of Carrie – and there is only one thing – it’s that it wasn’t made by Michael Bay. But otherwise, this is nothing to get excited about. Nothing at all.
Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) has her first period in the school showers, and is mercilessly bullied by Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and her goons, as well as dealing with her hardcore Christian mother (Julianne Moore). The trauma of this helps her discover burgeoning telekinetic powers. When Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) asks her boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to prom, it seems like nothing could possibly go wrong. And then pig’s blood and violence gets in the way.
The first problem with Carrie is that there literally isn’t a single reason for it to exist. Brian De Palma’s 70s adaptation of the Stephen King source is a seminal classic that doesn’t need altering. Pre-release publicity suggested that this was going to be an update of the film for a new generation, which could’ve been interesting in principle. The cast also sounded solid and the edgy director of Boys Don’t Cry was in place. All of the ingredients were there, but the soufflé did not rise.
In its attempts to modernise the Carrie story, this new adaptation of the classic tale simply throws a few smartphones into the mix. The title character’s shower-based humiliation is filmed and uploaded to YouTube… and then forgotten about. This thread of the story is subsequently dropped completely in favour of a near identical remake of the Brain De Palma version.
Chloe Grace Moretz is a highly capable actor, but she is too assured and attractive to make a convincing victim. She lacks the vulnerability and otherworldly creepiness that made Sissy Spacek so perfect for the character. Despite the miscasting, she makes a decent fist of the material and grapples with the terrible script. Julianne Moore is less impressive and merely provides a slightly inferior repeat of Piper Laurie’s iconic portrayal of fundamentalist mother Margaret.
The teen cast of Carrie are perfectly passable, but the script is lacklustre and the gory climax is in fact the only reason to bother with the price of a ticket.
This is the prime example of a remake that just did not need to happen. Peirce has not done anything different with the material and has in fact just repackaged the original film with extra Hollywood gloss and a lot less horror.
Pop or Poop?
Carrie perfectly summarises what is wrong with the Hollywood trend for remakes. Often, especially in the horror genre, they are simply glossier retreads of the original films, with nothing new to say.
The stars are miscast in iconic roles and the script makes lame, half-arsed attempts at modernising the plot.
This is a film that absolutely did not need to be made and has nothing new to say. If you want to watch Carrie in a new shiny package, this is the film for you. If, however, you actually care about the content, go and watch the Brian De Palma original.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.