Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Carrie (2013)


                                     'Carrie' Lets The Fires From The Original Set Ablaze

               I feel that the timing could not be more perfect for this remake of the 1976 classic Carrie to come out. Since the original story deals with the horrors of bullying and bullying has become such a serious issue, to the point where a term called "bullycide" has been coined, it would make sense for MGM Studios to recreate what they started, but from a different angle.

            Carrie follows the classic story about a teenage outcast named Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) who badly undergoes torment from her classmates and her religious mother (Julianne Moore). Eventually, she realizes she has telekinetic powers and one fateful night, when her classmates push her too far, they learn the hard way that once you play with fire, you get burned.

           Now, for this review, I will not only draw comparisons to the 1976 original, but start off by mentioning the importance of this remake. Most remakes these days are nothing more than quick cash grabs (The Fog, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Black Christmas, When A Stranger Calls, etc.). But because this remake really touches on the bullying aspect of the story, I can see why it was done. These days, we hear all these horror stories about kids committing suicide just because other idiot children decided to make their lives miserable. Plus, because we live in an age of social media, kids are even using that as a form of bullying. In the shower scene in this remake, not only do the girls throw tampons at Carrie and yell "Plug It Up" like in the original, but Chris Hargensen, the main villain, films it on her phone and posts it on YouTube. To me, that makes that scene in the remake more horrific than in the original. While that scene in the original is messed up, I thought that the shower scene in the remake just amped up the horror factor and that is where the horror of the film lies. It is all about the horror of bullying.

          Next, I'll get into the acting. Chloe Grace Moretz brings her own fresh take onto the titular character. While Sissy Spacek's performance is expressive in her silence, Moretz's is expressive in her motions. Moretz's Carrie is not only withdrawn, but more physically nervous. I felt like I could connect to her because I would be the same way when I felt like I was getting bullied in school and like her, I was a victim of bullying. Now onto Margaret White. Julianne Moore also brilliantly brings her own fresh take onto the role of the maniacal matriarch and I'll be honest, I thought the way that Margaret was portrayed here was slightly better than in the original. One reason is because there are scenes where we see scars on her body, indicating that she not only harms her daughter, but is a danger to herself. But Piper Laurie, who played the original Margaret, is certainly far from horrible though and was equally good as Moore was. I just thought the way the character itself was portrayed here was creepier. I also thought Judy Greer did a very nice job as Carrie's gym teacher Miss Desjardins as well as Gabriella Wilde, who played Sue Snell, who is a bully that tries to change her ways, and Portia Doubleday, who played Chris Hargensen. I liked how Chris was portrayed here because she is more fleshed out. In this one, we not only see that she is mean-spirited, but also quite manipulative. After she is banned from prom, we see a scene where she brings "Daddy" to school to fix everything and she does the whole "Daddy's Little Girl" routine. Even Ansel Elgort of Divergent fame, who plays Carrie's prom date Tommy Ross, also brings quite a level of authenticity to his performance and made for a very sympathetic character.

         But, did I think that this was overall better than the original? Not exactly. I'll be honest, the original is a classic and in its own right. It works as a straight-up horror drama about the main character discovering her powers. But this one is more about the bullying angle and is handled very realistically, thanks to the direction from Kimberly Pierce of Boys Don't Cry fame. So the remake not only is faithful to the original, but also works as a bullying statement and both films succeed in their own respective rights.


       Overall, Carrie is a successful remake that offers up its own unique perspective while being faithful to its source material. I do hope that those who see the film take note of its bullying aspect, especially since it is such a serious issue these days. If you are a fan of the original, I would still highly suggest giving this a watch and figuring out for yourself whether both films succeed in their own rights.

Grade: A-