FILM REVIEW: Carrie
Carrie is the latest in a trend of needless Hollywood remakes aimed at a theatre-going audience perhaps too young to recall the original. This new version of the horror tale, from Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce, offers little that's new: we basically get a younger cast, web-powered bullies and an excess of gory slow motion.
Standing in as Carrie White is Chloe Grace Moretz, who you may recall from Kick-Ass or Let Me In. She may not have Sissy Spacek's alien quality, but is actually the age of a regular high school student (unlike much of the original film's cast, who were in their twenties when it was shot).
Moretz's Carrie is a pale-faced, terminally shy girl taught to fear everything by her righteous, Bible-thumping throwback of a mother (portrayed by Julianne Moore). Moore plays Margaret White with a hideous fury: she's a haggard, hollow-faced adversary. Still, there's not much depth here, simply the sound of one note being struck repeatedly.
What yanks Carrie out of her shell is an unfortunate encounter in the girls' locker room at school, where her surprise at getting her first period becomes a social media hit at Ewen High. Leading the pack of mega Mean Girls mocking Carrie is Chris (Portia Doubleday), a surprisingly sadistic spoiled brat.
What little salvation can be found here is with a few of the supporting players, including Gabriella Wilde as a high school Barbie doll with a conscience and Judy Greer as Carrie's sympathetic gym teacher. In particular, Greer brightens things up for a brief moment with her plucky performance as an instructor who seems to enjoy putting the cool kids in their place.
If you you managed to miss Stephen King's original novel or Brian DePalma's original, never fear. Peirce drenches the film in foreboding and Carrie discovers her "gift," the telekinetic ability to move objects with her mind, less than 10 minutes in. For the rest of the film's slim, 90-minute retelling, it isn't a question of where we're going, but simply when.
Squint past the CGI blood and screeching score and you might detect a whiff more sympathy for both victims and perpetrators. But by the time Carrie transforms into the Akira-level villain of the finale, all subtleties are lost in the scarlet, bloody rain. Making DePalma's version appear restrained must count for something, right?
RATING: 2 out of 5
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