Carrie Why?

I just saw the Carrie remake at the theater.

Carrie

 

Carrie (2013) – Rated R

A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

The other kids, they think I’m weird. But I don’t wanna be, I wanna be normal. I have to try and be a whole person before its to late.

One Line Review: Unnecessary remake poorly handled, CGI blood laughable.

Obviously the big question besides ‘is it any good?’ would be ‘why remake Carrie yet again?’. After all, the 1976 film from Brian de Palma is an absolute classic, carefully paced, well-acted, and inventively filmed with a hard-to-beat finale and a coda that has since been copied in dozens of other horror movies.

People were respectful enough to leave Carrie alone until 1999. This is the year The Rage: Carrie 2 was released, with a different telekinetic teen suffering a very similar series of circumstances. Amy Irving reprised her role as Sue Snell. In 2002, Carrie was rebooted as a TV movie starring Angela Bettis. Despite the story being framed as a Greek tragedy, this was planned as a television series. Thankfully that did not get off the ground.

Carrie is a wonderful story about high school bullying and not fitting in. Carrie 2013 director Kimberly Peirce wrote and directed Boys Don’t Cry, a great story about bullying and gender identity. One would think that that would make her uniquely qualified to helm a bully-centric version of Carrie. Unfortunately this aspect is barely touched upon.

Very little of Lawrence D. Cohen’s script has been rewritten. Many scenes are verbatim from the 1976 original. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa makes a few modernizing tweaks. The filming and YouTubing of the shower incident are excellent ideas, straight from the headlines. Unfortunately they aren’t handled very well and don’t ultimately have the impact one would hope.

More of Carrie’s burgeoning abilities are covered. Unfortunately they are handled as if she is training them. In the original, the telekinesis comes across more as a force of nature, supporting the Greek tragedy aspects. Here she trains her powers and everything is much more deliberate. Instead of Carrie losing control, you sit there wondering why she didn’t do ‘x’.

Only a spoiler if you haven’t seen any version of Carrie nor read the book: Normally I only talk about endings in the vaguest of terms but, as this is a reboot of a remake, I feel safe mentioning Prom. Prom is the big showpiece of any Carrie. Brian de Palma used multiple camera angles and an inventive use (at the time) of split-screen. Kimberly Peirce’s version is even worse than the made-for-TV version. The CGI blood looks like very weak kool-aid that defies the laws of physics. Apparently in 37 years, we have regressed in the art of special effects. Honestly, I should put LOL as the bucket drop actually made me laugh out loud in the theater.

There are a few nice things to say about the remake but only a few. iPhones and YouTube are certainly necessary updates, even though they are mishandled. The bass effects are well done (too bad the visual effects money was spent on sound design). The lead is age-appropriate – it was a little hard to believe that 27-year-old Sissy Spacek was having her first period. Most of the rest of the cast are actors in their mid-20s playing high school students, just like in the original.

Julianne Moore does a fine job with Piper Laurie’s role but is not better than Laurie. Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass, Let Me In), who I normally love is okay here but Spacek’s performance was much more nuanced. The other actors were okayish but could not exceed the material.

Carrie isn’t downright awful except for the Prom sequence. and the road sequence following. and a few of the earlier scenes. Anyway it’s not awful, just not particularly good.