Warning: possible spoilers
Remakes. It’s become such a taboo word – especially in the horror world. I’m typically of the mindset that remakes, like all movies, are good, bad or just okay. So, if I have an interest, I’m going to see it. Remake stigma and all! And, Stephen King’s story is great and I’m in love with Chloë Moretz; so, needless to say, we had an interest in seeing Carrie.
If there ever was a time for a Carrie update, I suspect now is the time. Why? Bullies. Today’s youth terrifies me. Technology is a wonderful thing; but it’s also become this crazy, incredibly massive and all-too-easy platform for kids to be mean. Like, really mean. Bullying is a hot topic. So, anyone in their right mind is going to want to see a telekinetic underdog kick some serious bitchy bully butt. Enter Carrie…
While watching, we quite enjoyed Carrie. It very much feels like the 1976 Brian De Palma version. Almost scene-for-scene, word-for-word. It tweaks for the time (i.e. recording the infamous shower scene on an iPhone) and adds a few notes that weren’t in the ’76 version (i.e. allowing gym teacher Ms. Desjardin to live). And that’s okay. You don’t feel that it’s butchering the original; and it’s based on a book, so, of course there’s going to be crossover. Julianne Moore is devastatingly horrific (in a good way) as Margaret White, the super psycho devout ‘Christian’ and mother to Carrie. Seriously, this character is one of the absolute worst ‘villains’ in modern storytelling. Little Chloë Moretz delivers, as well. Prior to its release, it seems folks complained that Moretz was too pretty to play Carrie. Tisk, tisk. Carrie’s underdog-ness does not come from her looks, it’s rooted from within. She lacks total self-confidence and the general ability to understand what it’s like to be a teenager, a child, a young girl. Thanks, Mom. And, besides, she’s ‘plained’ up a bit to look awkward and un-cool, from her unruly hair to her handmade clothes. (And, for the record, Sissy Spacek is no dog!) Moretz’s portrayal of Carrie was vulnerable when needed and exceedingly formidable when unleashed – almost to the point of being a touch comical and over-the-top.
So, there you have it. A decent remake with good actors, a surprising director — Kimberly Peirce of Boys Don’t Cry — and a still-prevalent theme. But here’s the thing: it’s been three days and I’m already forgetting it (and apparently movie goers did too). I mean, there’s a good chance we’ll purchase it when it comes out on Blu-ray, but it isn’t necessarily something I’m super stoked to watch again. It was enjoyable at the time; but great movies resonate. They’re either incredibly fun and offer a lot of re-watch value; or, they’re haunting and horrific and stay with you a few days (example). Unfortunately, Carrie was neither.
With all that said, for the youngsters who may not know the original story (they do exist), perhaps Carrie was a good thing to put before them. It makes for a decent (and terrifying) anti-bullying marketing tool. Just don’t be mean – you might piss off the wrong person.