ReelReviews #18: Carrie (2013)




The last and perhaps least of three adaptations of Carrie is the recently released 2013 film. The good news is that it’s not a bad movie, but the bad news is that it’s not a good one. Unlike other recent remakes where I’ve watched multiple versions back to back and seen them tell the story in vastly different ways (a good example being the different versions of Fright Night, which I will review soon) you can’t really find anything new or surprising here. I watched this one immediately after I had seen the 1976 and 2002 versions, and its like watching actors audition for the same role. The same scenes, and the same dialogue is shown over and over, so I’m left to compare how the performance is, since I already know how the scene will unfold and how the movie will play out.

Carrie 2013 has one and a half things it does better than its predecessors: the music was by far the best of the three Carries (I wish the creepy music during Carries rampage in this movie had been used in the 1976 movie, which deserved it more), and for once, the high school students actually believably look the part, especially since this is the only Carrie where the actress is the correct age for the role. I give it “half” a point for this because while Chloe Grace Moretz is the lone time where an actual teenager plays a teenager, and she’s believable as a tormented teen, she also suffers from the Sissy Spacek problem of being too cute and charming to convey the idea that this girl is a social outcast. Angela Bettis remains the undisputed champion of getting that vital part of Carrie’s life across on screen, although Chloe Grace Moretz’s acting is good and you genuinely sympathize with what she’s going through. It’s all the more impressive given that the previous two Carries were adult actresses and now you have a much younger actress having to do a range of difficult scenes. Unfortunately for Chloe, she’s already proved herself in some iconic film roles, especially in the modern day horror classic Let Me In, which is probably why she was cast in this movie and was the main selling point. This time around, she’s just in an average, forgettable horror movie.

In many ways, Carrie 2013 was a hybrid of the previous two takes on the story. Chloe Grace Moretz channeled both Sissy Spacek and Angela Bettis at times, and Julianne Moore was virtually a hybrid of Piper Laurie and Patricia Clarkson’s interpretation of the role. She’s quiet and reserved, but also clearly nuts, paranoid, and completely detached from reality. Even the ending seem to merge the climax of the previous two movies – Carrie defeats her mother by both stabbing her to death, and giving her a massive heart attack. Did the filmmakers watch the previous two adaptations back-to-back like I did, and try to combine them? If that wasn’t the intention, it seems to have been the result, but its not good.

The climax here was surprisingly, well, anti-climatic. I think this version had the least build up to the point at the prom where they pour blood on Carrie (I think they used some type of new blood effect too, it didn’t splash all over her like the previous two movies). Carrie, although in shock, is clearly what’s aware of going on, and if they were trying to show she was enraged and on a killing spree, they didn’t convey it very well. Worse, in this version they have Carrie hover in midair and wave her arms around to gesture at objects she’s using her powers on, and it had the exact opposite effect of the 1976 movie: it screamed “Fake Hollywood movie”, rather than convince me a crazed teenage girl is genuinely using telekinesis powers to wreak havoc The final shot in the movie was also the weakest of the three versions (which is really saying something since I thought all three were hokey and underwhelming). It just shows Carrie’s grave followed a fake CGI “crack” which I guess is supposed to scare us.

Carrie 2013 has an R-rating, but it seems to be mostly for language (they drop the F-bomb a lot) since its probably the tamest of the three Carrie’s. I can’t imagine this one having full frontal nudity or extreme violence. The worst part here is that after seeing the 1976 movie, I sincerely felt it was dated and a “modern take” could be interesting. Unfortunately the big budget Hollywood movie didn’t deliver it – the forgotten TV remake from a decade earlier did.

** out of ****



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