“You will know her name!”
If you saw the trailer of Carrie and thought that it just copied Gladys Reyes’ 1997 film Anak ng Dilim then you’re assuming it wrong. You should know that it is based on famous writer Stephen King’s 1974 best-selling novel and it is also a remake of the 1976 film directed by Scarface’s Brian De Palma.
Brian De Palma’s close friend Kimberly Peirce decided to retell a modern take of the story. The remake still centers on Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
Besides some changes and the application of modern technologies, the film feels like a straight remake of the De Palma’s version instead of creating its own version of terror. One of the problems of having seen the original, you can’t help comparing it with the remake. You weighed which film handled the scene better. I kept on doing this all throughout the film.
With the announcement of Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore taking on the iconic roles of Carrie and her mother, I was excited to see what they will bring to these roles. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Hit Girl fight off bullies with real powers? After seeing the film last Wednesday, I will say that Sissy Spacek is still my Carrie. Whether she has to be a shy school girl or a telekinetic monster, her expressions and acting nailed it. Moretz was not able to match her performance. To be fair, it’s a tough act to accomplish but she still good for a modern version of the character. Not bad actually. I was still able to sympathize for her. I was a bit disappointed with Julianne Moore. Based on the trailers and clips plus the fact that she’s an amazing actress, I was rooting for her to give a chilling performance but surprisingly she didn’t. She lacks impact of what Piper Laurie brought to the role. Laurie’s performance resonated more to me. Moore’s attack to the role was a bit toned version of that. My impression of her was more of a crazy person than highly religious.
There is a saying that “nothing beats the original” and most of the time it is true in this film. Scenes like Carrie’s first period, the girls’ detention at the field and the final confrontation are tenser in the original. The reimagining of those scenes is fine in modern context but it didn’t match the same feeling I had before. For the remake’s credit, it has some good decisions like adding nice scenes that worked. For instance, there’s the principal office scene where Chris’ dad defends his daughter to get her prom rights back. I like this remake’s versions of Sue Snell and Tommy Ross. Newcomer Ansel Elgort fits the film’s bad boy who charmed the lonely lead. Gabriella Wilde was given more scenes to tackle Sue’s inner struggles. They even tackle her pregnancy side plot which was omitted in the original. I also like Judy Greer here despite missing the toughness and warmth of Betty Buckley.
Now onto the iconic prom scene, this is the film’s most anticipated moment. In the 1970s, the scene drenched its audience in buckets of blood and was one of the memorable horror moments in film history. Did the remake relive the terror with justice? Moretz and Elgort manage to make it a dream night for Carrie. There is still the “tense” factor for the audience in the build-up of the prank. With the advantage of having the advance visual effects to show off the full wrath of Carrie’s powers, Peirce decided to amp the violence with its utilization but I didn’t feel it helped to make the scene as horrifying as it should be. It reminded me of the death scenes in the Final Destination series. I also noticed that Carrie is more in controlled here. She gets to cry for Tommy and she spared a life. This is fine with me because it shows there’s humanity left in her. As for the original, she’s a killing machine and no life was spared which makes it more effective. Overall, it just looks good that Carrie can now fly and kill in a more creative way but not terrifying enough.
Like what I have mentioned, my experience of watching this remake was a game of “which film did it the best?” and the original 1976 film won for me overall. It may be a disappointment but I’m not calling it terrible. It’s actually a decent horror film. It’s just that my expectations were not met. Honestly, I think if you haven’t seen the original, you’ll appreciate it more. What is still apparent is the interesting Stephen King story centering on the tragedy of bullying and how the fate of Carrie is a proof of that. Bullying is wrong. Like all the previous adaptations, the message is also loud and clear here.
Carrie disappointingly stands in the shadow of the classic 1976 original film for the fans but for a new audience who still doesn’t know her, I think you’ll be a bit appreciative of her and a lesser bully critically.
About the movie reviewer:
Orange Magazine TV‘s newest film critic is a self-confessed movie geek. John Albert Villanueva loves movies so much, he watch every movies from the big screen and collects DVDs of classic movies. Read his other review