Review: Carrie / Cert: 15 / Director: Kimberly Peirce / Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa / Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Gabriella Wilde, Alex Russell / Release Date: Out Now
Remakes here, remakes there, remakes everywhere. Many remakes come branded as tosh before ever hitting screens, but we should not forget successful revisits can happen. So comes this newer, glossier, gorier version of Brian de Palma’s classic 1976 horror Carrie, adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name. A film many were not asking to be remade, although essentially it has twice already with samey (and terrible) “sequel” The Rage: Carrie 2 and the 2002 TV movie, yet here it is and on its own merits it is not that bad.
Sticking to the formula, this film sees outcast Carrie White (Moretz) bullied at home by her religiously fanatical mother Margaret (Moore) and at high school by her peers. During one embarrassing incident, Carrie is pushed further than she can handle, awakening her dormant and destructive telekinesis. The story is infamous, Carrie’s torturous prom date is a lingering image in cinema and the good news is that this film does not tarnish that. The bad news is that the movie, while perfectly watchable and well made, does not quite meet its full potential.
This new Carrie hits the same beats as the old, only tinkering with particular elements to bring things up to the here and now. For example, whereas before Carrie was a tortured soul unable to control her life, her abilities and ultimately her rage, here she is more like Magneto, masterfully using her abilities on occasion. All in line with a modern message of female empowerment, no doubt, but it takes away some of the character’s vulnerability.
Peirce’s remake is far more bombastic in style, packed full of CGI, and with head bully Chris (Doubleday) portrayed less as a spoilt brat and more as a deeply evil villain. Making her so sadistic and uncaring robs Carrie’s revenge of its tragic dimension; in fact, you root her on!
Moretz is occasionally a bit too strong as Carrie (this is Hit-Girl after all), but she is good in the part and gives an emotional performance in the leading role made famous by Sissy Spacek. Moore as her fanatic (even more so than in 1976) mother is also a decent casting choice and her performance is one of the film’s more successful aspects.
Despite admirably building an anti-bullying message, this remake is less haunting, less assured and less effective than the original. On the other hand, this ain’t no Prom Night either. It's a functional remake, forgettable and lacking in freshness but at least respectful of its source material.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 1o