I was excited to see this re-make of the 70s horror flick, Carrie. I’m not usually eager to see folks remaking the classics of my childhood and ruining them for future generations, but this movie was special. Besides, I like Chloë Grace Moretz. She’s always been outstanding as a miniature action hero and who doesn’t love a badass chick?
That moment in the trailer when I first saw Julianne Moore appear on screen, was the instant I decided I had to see this move. I called up my BFF Isabelle*, to set it up and we agreed to meet in the suburbs. I wasn’t going to chance this and watch Carrie at my local theater (which I endearingly refer to as Animal House). There is just too much nonsense going in a room full of college kids that does not include sitting quietly and enjoying a movie with strangers. So, instead of enduring collegiate hell, I fled to the ‘burbs for some peace, quiet with and pig’s blood.
The movie theater we frequent in the boonies is always fairly empty before 7PM on a Friday. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. Sadly, I’m sure that’s another sign that I’ll be completely devoid of social skills in the coming months.
Once inside our comfy, suburban theater, Isabelle and I took our usual spots in the first stadium row and settled into our seats. The trailers started up a few minutes later and lasted for what seemed like six days and nights. Then, the opening credits finally began to roll.
We first meet Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) in gym class, every unpopular kid’s least favorite place to be. She’s clearly an outcast, has no friends and is doing her best to stay sane and go unnoticed. Spastic and jumpy as hell, she’s standing awkwardly far from her water volleyball teammates in the pool.
While forcibly participating in the game, Carrie commits the mortal sin of accidentally hitting a popular person with sporting equipment. Fortunately, everyone seems to have forgotten about this embarrassing episode by the end of class.
Back in the locker room, Carrie skulks about until the showers are all clear. Only then does she feel safe enough to wash off the chlorine and shower up. Just as she begins to relax in the hot shower, she starts her period. The only problem is she’s never had a period.
Actually, I suppose the bigger problem is that she doesn’t know what a period is to begin with. Menstruation isn’t even a concept in Carrie’s sheltered mind. All she knows is that she’s bleeding—possibly to death. Being the ever-peculiar one, she flips the fuck out, shouting at the top of her lungs and grabbing at anyone within arm’s length.
Since Carrie goes to school with a bunch of soulless assholes, the girls in the locker room begin to throw tampons and pads at her. One particularly impassioned, mean girl films the entire episode with her phone and subsequently posts it on YouTube.
Carrie (2013) is the story Carrie White and the metal break she suffers when she’s pushed farther than she ever thought possible. High school cruelty knows no limits, but fortunately for Carrie neither do her telekinetic powers.
I wanted to enjoy every aspect of Chloë Grace Moretz’s portrayal of Carrie White, but I didn’t. To be blunt, often times it felt as if she was over acting. This struck me as odd since I usually enjoy her work. Fortunately, however, this wasn’t a constant throughout her performance. Unfortunately, there were more than several moments in the film where I wondered if a more nuanced portrayal wouldn’t be more compelling. Overall, Moretz shines brightest when she lets her natural talents dictate the tone of her performance. It is during these moments that she is most effective.
Julianne Moore is Margaret White, Carrie’s mother. Moore brings us a sharply detached and deluded matriarch. Simply put, there was nothing I didn’t like about her portrayal. Moore gives Margaret’s character depth and weight through a piercing delivery. As a religious fanatic, Moore conveys a desperate need for reason and direction. She is convincingly psychotic, but compartmentalizes it so well that she becomes flat out terrifying by the end of the film.
Potria Doubleday is Chris Hargensen, the meanest of all Carrie’s classmates. Chris isn’t just imprudent and offensive, but she’s also malicious and nasty. Doubleday brings us a villain that made me want to punch her square in the face. She was brilliant.
The casting was good, the acting was mostly excellent and the story continues to connect with everyone’s inner awkward high school kid. The dynamic between the female characters in this film is something of an oddity, though. The good thing is that it feels shockingly honest. Granted, not all of us have to contend with a sociopath as our quotidian antagonist, but we can’t all be that lucky I suppose.
Kimberly Pierce (Director) keeps Carrie’s story current by making it more than just a gorefest. We get a painfully detailed look into Carrie’s life, which seems comprised purely of sharply negative stressors. It’s easy to see how someone can be pushed off the cliff of sanity when they have to contend with an existence of constant shame and suppression.
Moving along, the gore in this movie is exquisite. That famous scene of mass murder is taken to an entirely different level. Kimberly Pierce managed to stay true to the original film (based on the novel by Stephen King) while expanding upon Carrie’s story, subtly. The only real problem I have with this movie is Moretz’s performance. While it wasn’t entirely bad, she’s the star and everything she does feels amplified, which is unfortunate in this particular case.
Carrie v2013 has its shortcomings, but this remake is definitely worth your time. We’re closing out the Halloween season and moving on to Thanksgiving so get your scares in while you can. If you’re open to the occasional remake, this one might not let you down.
Carrie (2013) – C
C = It was all right. This one isn’t likely to alter your universe, but it was entertaining for what it was.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those innocently associated with the author.