New to cinemas – 29th Nov 2013
More and more I think the studio bosses have a checklist of canonised horror movies to remake rather than actually remaking them for any other intents or purposes. The original version of Carrie isn’t nearly dated enough to give this new version any reason for existing, other than the update to cyber-bullying. But when the video of Carrie raving about her period hits YouTube and causes a massive ripple effect in the protagonist’s life, it doesn’t make much of an impact outside the film. It comes across as a lazy justification for the remake to exist.
In other words, the only other alteration from the original story is the inclusion of a near-horrific birth scene which doesn’t even make any sense. Carrie White (Chloe Moretz) is still the same shy wee lassie she was in DePalma’s 1976 film, the girl who gets her first period at 17, is horrified by it and screams for help to her vast embarrassment and fellow students’ amusement. She never knew what a period was before then, thanks to her repressive and God-fearing mother, this time played by a creepy Julianne Moore in the film’s sole good performance. In her rage, Carrie discovers she is telekinetic, which she uses to increasingly devastating use throughout the film, especially when her prom night goes worse than expected.
The biggest problem here is not the nondescript, often questionably framed direction by the once-promising Kimberly Pierce; it’s the very idea of Carrie herself. Chloe Moretz was in no way the right choice to play the character, and she brings too much warmth and confidence to a role which necessitates a lack of either. She doesn’t have Sissy Spacek’s willingness to go batshit, which is part of the original’s force, and spends too much of the film looking as though she’s having ice poured down her top. The whole thing feels like a rush-job, and by the time the seeds are being sewn for the blood-soaked climax, you’re thinking “are we there already?”
I had reservations about whether or not this could’ve been any good, and unfortunately, I was right. Pierce never once fully convinces you that there’s a point to this version; it has the same monotonous, moody feel as most new horror films, and lacks the impact of even any of those. The build-up to the climax was stomach churning, mind you, but I can scarcely praise the film for that when I was anticipating something on the level of the film, or even the book. I tried not to be too elitist while watching Carrie, but never once have I witnessed an entire movie being train-wrecked so badly by a single performance, courtesy of someone who is generally a good actress.
Carrie (1976) The original Stephen King adaptation directed by Brian DePalma. 9.3
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) Kimberly Pierce’s directorial debut and strongest feature to date. 9.0