Carrie Movie Review
So... they remade Carrie. Because it's a Stephen King story and Stephen King stories are destined to be remade over and over again for no particular reason. Remakes are typically worse than the originals, and that is certainly the case with this updated version, an uninspired and glossy excursion that reeks of pig's blood.
As I write this review I'm currently watching the original Sissy Spacek version to wipe away memories of what I just watched, and because it actually has nudity. I say that half in jest, but the presence of nudity - or lack thereof in this new Carrie - speaks to what makes the original so good. It is gritty, unafraid, a bit sexualized.
This new Carrie follows the same general plot points but glosses over the nuanced elements that make the original so powerful. Carrie is unsure about her body and her sexuality, but you wouldn't know it from watching this new version. She is confused by her first period, but otherwise she's just a girl who wants to be normal. The other teenagers are caricatures of what teenagers tend to be in movies, hot, cruel and without remorse. The movie plays out like your typical high school-set horror genre, only with a protagonist who has telekinetic powers.
Chloe Grace Moretz is fine as Carrie, but she pales in comparison to Sissy Spacek. Spacek delivers a sad, creepy and sometimes frightening performance as the title character, whereas Moretz simply plays a bullied girl who has some special powers. Moretz is also too good looking for the role; it's hard to buy that she is as bullied and demonized as she is given her appearance. More importantly, when you watch Spacek in the role, you know she is on the verge of cracking. I never got that same impression with Moretz.
On its own, the first two thirds of 2013's Carrie work well enough despite its general shallowness. Julianne Moore is creepy enough as Carrie's mother (though not nearly as frightening as Piper Laurie) and the movie rushes along at an entertaining pace. It's never boring, nor is it cringe-inducing.
Until the prom scene hits. The most important sequence of the entire film is a cluster of lameness, an unimaginative, toned down recreation of what occurs in the original. Predictably, certain characters who die in the original are spared here, because that just wouldn't make sense, would it? People who are nice to Carrie die in the original, because Carrie is a damaged creature, someone who snaps and unleashes hell. When Carrie "snaps" in the 2013 version, it just isn't convincing.
2013's Carrie works fine for a while but completely spirals out of control during the climax. But it was doomed well before, as will you be. The better option: watch the original Carrie, which is available now on Netflix streaming.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.