I’ve been asked to prom. – Carrie
Ask a horror fan about their favourite movies and many of them will bring up Brian DePalma’s horror masterpiece Carrie. Released in 1976 the film earned Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie Academy Award nods and helped turn Spacek into a massive star (along with her break out role in Badlands). So when it was first announced that the powers that be would be remaking Carrie every horror fan braced themselves for the inevitable abortion that would be the remake. Like many works based on a Stephen King novel, there have been several iterations since Sissy went to prom. We had The Rage: Carrie 2 and a ho-hum made for TV adaptation featuring Angela Bettis (May, The Woman). And Kimberly Pierce was announced as the director we cautiously peeked out from our bunkers with curiosity. Could the woman who brought us Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena in the Oscar Winning Boys Don’t Cry offer us a fresh take on everyone’s home schooled telepath.
The answer is complicated. Did the remake of Carrie shit the bed? Nope. Did it completely reinvent the original? Not really. Instead we got a relevant update which explored the theme of alienation and bullying in a way that really resonates even more in today’s society. We also got a handful of interesting differences that were omitted from the original adaptation. What we are left with is a good but not great film with a few stand out roles and a bit too much CGI.
Julianne Moore slays as the psychotic Margaret White. Where as Piper Laurie was campily unhinged a mess of nightgown and giant hair, Moore gives us a woman so completely paralyzed by her own beliefs that she thinks she is dying of cancer in the opening scene when she in actuality is giving birth. Moore bangs her head, cuts herself and passively aggressively smothers Carrie and manages to be a real stand out as always.
Judy Greer as everyone’s favorite student slapping gym teacher is all kinds of perfection. She’s the kind of woman who gets how fucked up high school can be. The girl who plays Chris is another delightful reworking of the original character. At times she reminded me of a wounded animal. Terrified but at the same time and that terror makes me incredibly dangerous.
Chloe Grace Moretz does an admirable job playing Carrie. While her acting is fantastic she definitely stands out as by far the most conventionally pretty actress to play the role and as such I often found it hard to sympathize with her. But that seems as though it may be Pierce and Moretz’s intention in that where as DePalma’s Carrie was weak willed and helpless, their version realizes her true power.
Aside from some shots that could have used a bit more restraint, I enjoyed most of the effects. A stand out was the pigs blood scene which they actually managed to do well. Over all I enjoyed the film and likely would have really liked it if I didn’t have such strong affinity for the original film. I still remember the first time I saw Carrie murder her classmates while her mother’s voice echoed along. All in all it’s no where near as offensive to my nostalgia as the Nightmare On Elm Street remake or the Doug Bradley-less Hellraiser and I am sure it will likely be very popular among the younger horror hounds.