Looking for something to watch this weekend? On Film Fridays I take a look at both new and old movies.
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Rated: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.
Synopsis from IMDb:
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.
I was a bit skeptical about watching the remake of the movie Carrie with Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. While I like both actresses and think they do great work, Carrie just seemed like one of those films that didn't really need remaking. I checked the movie out from the library and ended up watching it yesterday afternoon because it was due back and I wasn't really doing anything else besides waiting to go work. While an alright film, it was exactly what I was expecting: a perfectly fine, but completely unnecessary remake of a classic horror film.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that my readers are already familiar with the premise of this film through either the actual Stephen King book on which it is based or through a viewing of the original, superior 1976 film. Because of this assumption, this review will really be more of a discussion on the remake itself and will probably end up slightly spoiler-ish. If you are unfamiliar with the story, but want to watch this movie, you should probably stop reading now....Still with me? Great.
As mentioned, this remake doesn't really add anything to the story. I mean, there was some small additions of cyber-bullying that could have been extremely interesting if they were explored in more depth, but they aren't. The whole "plug it up" bathroom scene is still there in the beginning, but the super mean girl, Chris, videotapes it on her phone and uploads it to Youtube. That's truly about the only significant difference between the original film and the remake. Nice, popular girl, Sue, still decides that her boyfriend, Tommy, should take Carrie to prom to make up for past sins. Gruff gym teacher, Mrs. Desjardin, still wants to help Carrie out during this last year of high school and punishes the mean girls for their behavior, mean girl, Chris, still pours the pig's blood all over Carrie at prom sparking Carrie to snap.
As far as the cast is concerned, they really do help make the movie watchable. Moore is an accomplished actress who plays her roles well. Greer is a fun addition (I love her) as the gym teacher. Nice(r) popular girl, Sue, is played by a very pretty blonde and was believable as a girl struggling with her past behavior. So that leaves Carrie, herself. While I like Moretz, and think she is a great actress coming into her own, she isn't who I would have cast as Carrie. Pretty girls get bullied, of course, but she looked like she was playing awkward more than it seemed like she was actually awkward.
On the left is Sissy Spacek who played the original Carrie. On the right is Ms. Mortez. There is just a natural awkwardness to Ms. Spacek that is clearly lacking in the rising star which makes Carrie who she is.
In addition, I would have liked to see more bullying (a phrase I never thought I would say--yes, I realize how absolutely horrible that sounds). When Carrie snaps at the prom, bad shit goes down. I'm not saying that seeing more bullying would justify the deaths of teenagers, but the tampon incident and the whole pig blood thing doesn't seem like enough to make somebody snap to the extreme that Carrie snaps. Yes, she has a zealous mother and people don't seem to really talk to her in school, but...I don't know. It just doesn't seem all that extreme. Maybe that's just me.
In the end, the Carrie remake was exactly what I thought it was going to be: an almost exact replica of the original film which, in my book, makes the remake pretty pointless. It's an alright film. It's entertaining enough if you stumble across it on HBO or whatever premium channel ends up snagging it in a month or two, or if you get it from your library, like I did, but don't expect a whole lot.