By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
With the 1976 version of Carrie, director Brian De Palma adapted Stephen King’s novel with a style and panache obviously inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. The result is an iconic horror film with excellent performances by Sissy Spacek in the title role and Piper Laurie who portrays Carrie’s psychotic and abusive mother. As with most remakes of well made films, this latest by acclaimed director Kimberly Peirce begs to ask the question, “Why?” Peirce fails to answer this question with a film that gets all the story elements correct, but has nothing new to offer audiences already familiar with this story.
For those unfamiliar with story, Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a shy and timid high school loner who has never fit in with her classmates, Often the subject of ridicule and bullying by her classmates and abuse by her mother Margaret (Julianne Moore), Carrie begins to discover that she has telekinetic powers. After a bullying incident in the high school locker room, Carrie’s tormentors including Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and Sue Snell (Gabriela Wilde) are punished for their nasty treatment of Carrie. Feeling guilty for mistreating Carrie, Sue convinces her boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) to invite Carrie to the prom. However, Chris feels no remorse for Carrie and seeks revenge for her punishment.
Screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa adds little to Lawrence Cohen’s adaptation of King’s novel. Sure, the film features the expected modernizations, but most of the exact lines and dialogue remain the same. With the subject of bullying being a relevant topic in high schools, I expected to see a much more intensive study of the subject in this version. However, very few changes are made and Pierce has nothing new to offer in her half-hearted presentation of the story.
This new version seriously lacks the fervor and intensity of De Palma’s film. With the exception of the language, this movie may as well have been a television adaption of the book which actually has already been done. The whole experience feels so watered down and somewhat sanitized. Moments which played out horrifically and shockingly in the ’76 version feel so weak and uninspired.
I will acknowledge that Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore are talented actors, but Moretz is definitely miscast here. Moore just cannot match the fire and brimstone ferocity of Piper Laurie. Moretz looks way too cute to convey the monster that Carrie becomes when she loses control. When I first saw the original Carrie, I was (still am) very afraid of Laurie’s madness. Spacek is absolutely perfect in that she can credibly play the different facets of the Carrie White character in this story. As for the rest of the cast in this remake, none of the actors deliver memorable performances, whereas Nancy Allen (Chris), Amy Irving (Sue) and William Katt (Tommy) make undeniable impressions.
While not horrible, I feel this seriously unnecessary remake of Carrie is not worth the effort or money to see in the theater. I wouldn’t even suggest watching this film as a rental. For people who have never seen the original film, my recommendation is to seek out the 1976 De Palma movie. Fans of the De Palma’s movie should just steer clear. This Carrie hath no fury at all.