Review: CARRIE (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Review: CARRIE (2013)

The new version of CARRIE has strong cast and excellent setup, but this time the payoff is disappointing.

The original 1976 version of Brian De Palma's CARRIE (which was adapted from Stephen King's first novel of the same name) was highly regarded as one of the landmark horror pictures. It was also best remembered as one of the director's best works, two Oscar-nominated performances by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, and of course, the memorable ending. Now, 37 years later, this horror classic returns with an inevitable remake. Remaking a horror classic like CARRIE is certainly a ballsy move but thankfully, director Kimberly Peirce manages to achieve that effectively. Until of course, the disappointing ending...

Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a socially awkward and shy girl who studies at Ewen High School. Her crazy mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) is a religious fanatic who always locking her up in a small closet and making her pray for hours. One day, Carrie suffers her first period in the gym shower and Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and her friends end up bullying her. After the incident, Carrie discovers she has an ability to move things with her mind. In the meantime, Sue Snell (Gabrielle Wilde), who used to do bad things on her, starts to feel guilty and decides to make amends by asking her boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgot) to invite Carrie to the prom. Carrie is skeptical at first when Tommy asks her out but eventually agrees. The prom is supposed to be Carrie's most magical night but she doesn't realizes that Chris, who has earlier gets banned from attending prom due to her misbehavior against her gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer), has already setup an evil prank against Carrie.
Director Kimberly Peirce is no stranger on crafting movie about misunderstood individual. After all, she did it before in her memorable debut, BOYS DON'T CRY (1999), that famously won Hilary Swank her first Oscar. In the new version of CARRIE, she and her two screenwriters Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa takes their time to flesh out a thought-provoking story that touches on teenage bullying and cyber humiliation.

But the story wouldn't have work if not for its remarkable cast. As Carrie, Chloe Grace Moretz gives a heartfelt performance, even though she is inferior if to compare with Sissy Spacek's memorable role. It's hard to blame her anyway, because Moretz still looks naturally beautiful no matter how she de-glamorized her role. Fortunately, she is committed enough to make her role worth sympathized for. Meanwhile, Julianne Moore is frighteningly believable as the psychologically-disturbed religious fanatic. Rounding up the cast is Gabriella Wilde's eye-catching but sympathetic performance as Sue Snell and Judy Greer's wonderful turn as Ms. Desjardin.

Obviously I wanted to include the ending here, but too bad it doesn't look good enough for me.

It's a shame that Peirce isn't known as a visual filmmaker. Unlike Brian De Palma who knows how to stage remarkable visual template that makes his original CARRIE so well-known, Peirce stumbles once the movie reaches the inevitable finale at the prom. It lacks the visual intensity of De Palma's direction, while its special effects-heavy finale here is more of a show-off than a satisfying payoff.

CARRIE may not have been as memorable as the original version, but as far as a horror remake goes, Peirce's version remains worthy enough on its own.

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