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Carrie: Timid Remake of Horror Classic

  • Chloë Grace MoretzGabriella Wilde...
  • DramaHorror
  • Kimberly Peirce
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Carrie: Timid Remake of Horror Classic

As one of the most celebrated horror films of all time, Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s fable, Carrie, is always going to be a pretty tough act to follow. However, as an attempt to recreate and modernise the horror classic, director Kimberly Pierce – who made her directorial debut with the stunning 1999 drama, Boys Don’t Cry  handles the pressure reasonably well.

Thanks to her isolated upbringing, Carrie White (Moretz) has always been seen as an outcast; a lonely, shy and incredibly introverted teenager who lives with her controlling and extremely religious mother, Margaret (Moore). Her reclusiveness makes her an easy target for bullies, with Carrie falling victim to harassment in the school halls on daily basis.

One day after swim class, Carrie experiences her first period; as a result of her mother’s fanatic ways, she is confused, shocked and completely unprepared. This public humiliation is made all the worse by mean-girl-classmates, Chris Hargensen (Doubleday) and pretty Sue Snell (Wilde), who lead the charge as Carrie is filmed and pelted with tampons – like kids do these days.

While the incident marks Carrie’s first steps into womanhood, it also mysteriously ignites telekinetic powers in her. Allegedly feeling guilty over what happened, Sue Snell persuades her athlete boyfriend, Billy Nolan (Russell), to take Carrie to prom instead of her; and that’s when things get rather nasty.

Moretz, who was only fifteen years old during filming, gives a relatively consistent performance, managing to capture Carrie’s vulnerable aura, even if some of the scenes portraying her defencelessness are a little theatrical. As Carrie’s religiously fanatic mother, Moore’s performance is incredibly eerie and frightfully convincing. Similarly, Greer’s role as Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher, is a perfect foil for the otherwise lonely Carrie, though other characters felt undistinguished and underdeveloped.

Attempting to rejuvenate the story, Pierce’s re-make has a sense of freshness to it, most prominently in the cinematography. On the downside, it doesn’t quite make up for the peculiar continuity issues and the disappointingly diluted ending.

When all’s said and done, the 2013 re-imagination of Carrie is a reasonably well executed remake. Frightening, ghostly and yet awfully safe, it could and should have been much more.    

Like This? Try

Carrie (1976), Carrie (2002), The Shining (1980)

360 Tip

This is the first screen adaptation where Carrie is played by an actual teenager. Chloë Grace Moretz was 15 during filming, whereas Sissy Spacek and Angela Bettis, who played the role in 1976 and 2002 respectively, were 26 and 28 when they played Carrie.

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