Kimberly Peirce‘s Carrie is one of those serviceable remakes that sticks rather closely to the source material, doing very little to separate itself from previous adaptations. Carrie is perhaps an acceptable remake because of Chloë Grace Moretz‘s titular turn as the troubled and misunderstood high school girl with special abilities, but aside from her performance and Julianne Moore‘s supporting work, Carrie is yet another case of been-there-done-that, offering up the bare minimums while remaining faithful to Stephen King‘s novel.
Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a misunderstood loner at her high school. Her abusive and psychotic mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) has done everything in her power to keep Carrie sheltered and away from the public, leaving Carrie feeling like an outsider that just wants desperately to fit in.
Most of her classmates pick on her, but one decides that maybe it’s time to help Carrie out. She convinces her boyfriend to ask Carrie out to prom, in hopes of selfishly patching up her own wrongdoings against Carrie, while also hopefully giving Carrie that one night to look forward to.
Things don’t exactly go according to plan.
Carrie is one of those universal stories that could be remade and retold for ages and ages. It deals with topics that will never feel outdated or irrelevant. People will always understand the loner character and people will always remember what it feels like to be that one left out in the cold or that one trying to do a nice thing and offer them a blanket. Carrie just deals with those themes a little differently, adding some blood and chaos to one innocent young girl’s attempt at going to prom and finally fitting in.
Director Kimberly Peirce does a fine job keeping those themes intact and sticking closely to King’s material and sadly the original film as well. This version of Carrie oftentimes feels like a shot-for-shot remake, only modernizing things with smart phones and society’s freakish obsession with prom.
Seriously, the way this film discusses and places such high importance on prom is definitely more terrifying than any of the bloody deaths that tag onto the film’s closing act. Peirce does a splendid job getting creative with the kills and offering up some decent-looking horror, but the focus on prom is almost sickening and worthy of its own film entirely.
Characters are literally willing to slaughter animals and make other peoples life a miserable living hell… IF it means going to the prom. The film’s overly dramatic focus on this presents an entirely different way to look at social standards and what’s expected and considered “normal” in the high school setting. It’s frightening and something that is much more interesting than the rest of Peirce’s safe and predictable film.
Carrie is a lot like the US remake (Let Me In) of the Swedish horror film Let the Right One In. All the US remake did was change a few minor details around and simplify a few things, but other than that, it mostly kept the same structure, tone and atmosphere. Obviously, remakes are never going to get as many points as the original, because they have material to directly lift from, but they still require some sort of skill to elicit that same emotional reaction out of the audience.
Kimberly Peirce‘s Carrie builds up that same tension and gives you that same bloody conclusion, but it does so without really bringing anything new to the table, aside from Chloë Grace Moretz‘s performance. Moretz has come a long way from her Kick-Ass days and seeing her take on such an iconic leading role with ease is just another indication of her growing talent.
Julianne Moore also inserts enough creepiness into Margaret.
Carrie might shock the teens of today, but I’m willing to bet that most seasoned horror fans have already seen the original and probably won’t need to rush out to catch this one. It’s more of the same and not exactly groundbreaking or fresh. Still, it gets a few things right and only goes to show just how universal and relevant King’s story is and that alone is saying something.
Carrie – 7/10