Monday, October 21, 2013

FILM REVIEW: Carrie (2013)


So, I asked my mother if she wanted to go see the new Carrie  movie this weekend...to which she replied..."Oh, so we're going to see another remake? Doesn't anyone know how to do anything original anymore?" Then...she insisted on going to the matinee show on Sunday at our local cheapo theater...because..."why pay full price for something we've already seen before??" Yup...that's my mom.

Before I begin my review of the 2013 remake...I would like to offer a little history on all the iterations of Carrie  that we know up until now. The first, of course, being Stephen King's original novel by the same name published in 1974. At the time...King's novel's were pretty much snatched up for film adaptations almost as soon as they were announced. Carrie's first film adaptation came in 1976 when Brian De Palma offered his classic version of the awkward girl exacting her revenge on a bunch of high school bullies. The film is a masterpiece of horror cinema. It is such a painful depiction of bullying and the unfortunate results that occur because of those certain nefarious actions committed by such mean-spirited pricks which make the film's climax such a potent one.

Then there was a 1999 sequel called The Rage: Carrie 2. (pause for awkward silence)

A made-for-TV movie came out back in 2002 that actually didn't really suck. It starred genre favorite Angela Bettis in the titular role and, while it never really amounted to anything significant, it certainly gave us a different performance by an extremely talented actress. The movie actually ended on a happier note...due to the fact that an actual television series was planned. However...that never panned out.

There was some kind of Broadway musical planned somewhere in the midst of all this.

Finally...MGM and Screen Gems obtained the rights for a brand new version of our favorite awkward telekinetic teenage girl...and here we are.


Kimberly Peirce directed a very striking film back in 1999 called Boys Don't Cry. In which she dealt with some of the same subject matter as this new version of Carrie. When it was first announced that she would be helming this remake...I gotta say...I was pretty excited to see what she would do with a character like Carrie White. Sadly, most of Peirce's direction feels a bit pushed aside here. I mean...you get her signature look and I believe she was able to get a much more digestible performance out of the lead actress (more on this later)...but, I just feel like this ultimately isn't Kimberly Peirce's film as much as the 1978 film truly feels like De Palma's. Which is kind of a shame because had the studios allowed her full reign...we might've been talking about something much more special here.

In the way of the new premise...it's pretty much the same old premise...from the original film. The 2013 Carrie  follows all of the same beats. With the exception of some modern stuff thrown in (SPOILERish sorta...Carrie's period scene is later broadcast all over the world-wide internetz)...the majority of what you see has already been shown before. Except with new faces. You could pretty much bring a check-list along with you into the theater and check off each scene that you remember from the original film.

Thankfully, this iteration isn't without some bright spots. Perhaps the biggest thing the film has going for it is Julianne Moore...who plays Carrie's mother, Margaret White. Perfect casting. I've actually been waiting for Moore to let herself go in a role like this...and boy does she unwind. She owns the single best scene in the entire film...the opening. Unfortunately, it's the lone original piece in the entire picture...as it introduces Carrie White to us in the most uncomfortable way possible. Which is fitting for such an awkward character.


Speaking of Carrie White...she's played here by Chloe Grace Moretz, who is no stranger to shot-for-shot remakes. You'll remember her from Let Me In (the American remake of the superior Let the Right One In). While she certainly doesn't steal the show here, she gives a decent enough performance in the iconic role of Carrie. It's just that...much like everyone else in the universe...I thought her to be a bit under-cooked in the role. And her looks are much too conventional to convince anyone that she's a true social misfit. She's just way too pretty. Whenever you see her hair...it totally looks like someone mangled it on purpose...as opposed to a much more natural look. If you've seen the film Excision  and are familiar with Annalynne Mccord's amazing performance then you'll get my idea. Moretz is a fine actress on her own and Lord knows the girl will go on to have a great career. Just stop doing pointless remakes.

The rest of the cast rounds out decently for this kind of film. Gabriella Wilde channels Taylor Swift as Sue Snell. Ansel Elgort is a corny block of wood as this film's Tommy. I liked Judy Greer as the gym teacher to the rescue, Ms. Desjardin (I forget the character's name from the original). She brings a certain charm that created a sort of brand new character out of the role. And I'm sure that I'm not alone when I say that I so wanted to reach through the screen and punch Portia Doubleday's version of Chris in her bitch face.

I suppose I should mention that the film is rated R now....as opposed to the original PG-13 that the studios were aiming for. That means plenty of locker room nudity and gore aplenty...right? Well...unless you were thinking Sears underwear section and CG blood...then I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place, my friends. While this version of Carrie  has some really cool set pieces and some decent concepts...it mostly falters in the gore category. I did appreciate some of the kills in the film...just wished they didn't use so much goddamn digital blood. When the pig's blood pours down...you'll notice that Carrie's face looks almost as if someone painstakingly placed all the blood drips down her face to look like it naturally fell that way...only it doesn't look natural at all. It looks like Moretz went to Six Flags Fright Fest and got the "Carrie" on the face-painting menu.

I suppose the film is a good enough intro for a new generation of "horror fans" that want to skip the beauty and depth of the original and just want the Cliff Notes version instead. However...for the rest of us...though completely pointless, it's much better than the sequel from 1999 and I recommend this new version of Carrie  strictly as a Sunday matinee at your local cheapo theater. Because that's what Momma Deviant recommends.




Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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