Hollywood’s business plan seems to be to carrie on producing reboots, remakes and sequels to fund the industry. Stephen King’s Carrie is next in a long line of 70s horror films that have been remade in the 21st century (the list includes Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween). Carrie (Chloe Moretz) is a shy teenager who has her first period whilst showering. This terrifies Carrie as her fanatical Christian mother (Julianne Moore) has neglected to tell her the stuff that will occur as she grows up. Naturally, Carrie’s terrified reaction to met with ridicule by the peers who eventually accept the punishment handed down on them for humiliating Carrie. The tormentors feel (some at least) guilt for what they did, all apart from Chris (Portia Doubleday) who will be the one to push Carrie over the edge at the school prom.
Brain De Palma’s 1976 adaption of Carrie has always been one of the more popular adaptations of King’s work so a remake would always stir the cauldron of controversy. The question asked of every remake is does the remake add anything to the original story? In regards of Kimberly Pierce’s Carrie the answer is yes as small additions to the story modernise the film. These modernised additions include Carrie’s humiliating incident going viral on the internet. This modernised additions to the story are decent, but it is quickly pushed aside and the film continues to looks more and more like Brain De Palma’s adaptation, and yet again raising questions about the validity of such a film existing.
Director Kimberly Pierce’s remake isn’t without it merits, Carrie’s torments, her psychotic mother and her generally pure evil bullies cut her a somewhat sympathetic and engaging figure as she navigates the harsh and hazardous seas that is an American high school. Carrie is different and the bullies spot this like a bird of prey spots a mouse scurrying about on the ground. Carrie’s plight is an emotional one as one can’t help but feel sympathetic for her; this is owed to Moretz’s performance. Arguably, Moretz is far too conventionally pretty to play such a role (Moretz could easily play the one of the more popular kids), but her performance is convincing enough and carries just about enough emotional weight. Whilst her more vulnerable scenes are fine Moretz is in her element when sharing the screen with Julianne Moore.
Supporting Moretz is an excellent Julianne Moore as the two combine to make the mother-daughter relationship an interesting one to watch. Clearly, the pair love each other dearly even though the Mother-daughter relationship is a very dysfunctional. Carrie’s desire to fit in and not follow her mother’s strict religious regime is merely a different way of telling the story of the rebellious teen years. In this sense Carrie is relatively normal, but it is her abilities in telekinesis that set her apart from other teens rebelling against their parent’s regime.
Clearly, there are a number of things Carrie did rather well, but one thing that isn’t quite as impressive is Carrie’s explosion of rage. Carrie has the ability to control her telekinesis thus the sheer terror and effect of the explosion of rage Carrie suffers after the humiliation at the prom isn’t as terrifying as it should be. Everyone in the packed hall witnesses Carrie’s abilities making it seem less of an accident than it was seen in the original. This leads up to another problem when Sue’s (Gabriella Wilde) version of events is questioned in court despite a whole hall full of survivors seeing Carrie perform such impossible feats. Surely they must’ve have testified too?
That, however, is a minor quibble in a good film that spends a bit too much time paying homage to Brain Di Palma’s original and not really doing enough to justify its existence. However, the remake of Carrie is a decent adaptation of King’s work.