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[tab title="Movie Review"]

Carrie - Movie Review

1 star

‘She was a chunky girl with pimples on her neck and back and buttocks, her wet hair completely without color.' -Stephen King

The story that gave Stephen King to the world has been adapted as a cinematic horror classic once before. Having nearly every horror classic ensnared in the remake trap for the last decade, it came as no surprise when it was announced that there would be a new version of Carrie coming our way. As revered as Brian DePalma’s version of the shy telekinetic schoolgirl who unleashes bloody revenge is, if one is to look at the quote at the beginning of this article, we had not seen the girl described in the novel yet. Sissy Spacek’s mousey (and Oscar nominated) turn was an effective alternative, but an alternative nonetheless. What intrigued this reviewer this time, when the makers of the remake got to talking, was that they would try and stick closer to the source. Would we see King’s Carrie this time?

Just as before, Carrie White is a socially inept school girl, over protected by her psychotically religious mother, and ignorant in the ways of her peers—thus the target of their torments. After a rather embarrassing first menstruation experience for her in the gym showers, Carrie’s tormentors are punished and plot retribution against her. One of the girls, Sue, feels shame for participating in the hazing of Carrie and seeks to make up for it by forcing her boyfriend to ask Carrie to prom. The convergence of this act of kindness and the actions of the tormentors culminate in a bloody and deadly transformation when Carrie is pushed one step too far.

The story’s main thread remains unchanged; however, the setting is contemporary, and there are some minor closer adherences to King’s plot. That’s where the so called fresh contributions of this new adaptation begin and end.

As so often with these remake things, the filmmakers assume that putting mobile phones and modern conveniences within the narrative somehow makes it more relevant: director Kimberly Pierce is just as guilty. These are superficial veneers that do nothing meaningful for the resonance of the picture. You could set this film in the 1800s if you unfurl the story right and it would still resonate with modern teens. There are solid performances from all of the supporting cast, with Moore’s understated Momma being a successful, different take.

The problem is with the casting of Carrie.

I love Chloe Grace Moretz; I think we’ll see some spectacular things from her in the future. The kid exploded into pop culture with Kick Ass and has made some interesting nuanced performances in other fair since. But she is not Carrie. She cannot be Carrie. Putting a dowdy wig on a pretty blossoming teenager, asking her to hunch her shoulders and look at her feet is not a convincing social pariah. Moretz, in an interview, stated she could relate to the bullying Carrie endures as she received some for being famous. Bullying is not a generic one size fits all condition, and Moretz, a very talent young woman (who absolutely would be victim to jealousy and pettiness from peers) did not embody this girl believably because she does not get who this person is. Without a Carrie you can believe would be the source of all this torment, the film falls quickly.

Her characterization, in direct contrast to Spacek’s, also displays a sense of empowerment that completely undermines the point of this character. Carrie is supposed to be unlikable—even for the empathetic—that person we have all come across in our lives that just doesn’t fit in that environment at that time, no matter what they do. The lesson is in how that character is treated, and the consequences that befall the cruelty delivered to a person like that. To show her developing/understanding her powers is a mistake. She needed to be the rat backed into the corner; not the super powered, newly minted beauty who unleashes telekinetic empowerment on the ‘bad people’. Carrie’s tragedy is not that she was bullied heinously; it’s that she was too weak to endure or learn that it will change, and for the better. Here, in an era of unprecedented teen suicide, was an opportunity to show a character that didn’t get it, and the horror of what she does in retaliation is the perfect metaphor of the destruction not getting it can bring. The way they deal with it is so simplistic and unrealistic (character wise) it’s stupid—and it’s not what King was trying to say

Had Hollywood, for once, been brave with the casting and found someone who physically embodies the Carrie of the novel, a frumpy, pimply faced girl with a relatable form to be the butt of her peers’ jokes, then this film might have offered something new and worthwhile. Instead, we get the glam/sanitized version of something that was done far better the first time around. This film is another in a long line of utterly pointless and ill-conceived redos.

An opportunity to be brave, honest about this very relevant topic, and offer something fresh has been missed. Perhaps the kids of today would appreciate a film that doesn’t pander and treat them like they’re morons?

Still waiting for King’s Carrie: maybe next time.


[tab title="Film Details"]

Carrie - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.
100 mins
: Kimberly Pierce
: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde
Genre: Horror
You will know her name
Memorable Movie Quote: "If the two of you are planning some kind of joke on a poor, lonely girl..."
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Release Date: October 18, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 14, 2014.

Synopsis: A sheltered high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers.[/tab]

[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Carrie - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 14, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; Mobile features
Region Encoding: Region B/2

This is a slick looking movie, as most of these glossy remakes are. The MPEG-4 AVC 1080p picture shows no signs of inconsistency, whether in broad daylight or the copious night shots: images are crisp and detailed. Skin tones are natural, colours are stylistically understated but that’s a cinematography choice not a flaw. It’s a solid transfer from a digitally shot source.

Sound is equally modern and enjoyably: the 5.1 DTS-HD mix is a hearty workout for one’s speakers. It’s a layered and nuanced mix, with clear dialogue and good left to right play when Carrie goes bat shit crazy in the final act. Nothing to complain about here.

Special features are decent, I suppose, but if you’re like me and wasn’t at all swayed by their attempt to make this version relevant or enticing, then listening to the cast and crew crap on about how they think they managed it in a few short featurettes is not gonna be that fun. There’s a director’s commentary and a seamless branching alternate ending (equally banal in my opinion), among other usual chestnuts. Only for the devoted I’m afraid.



  • Commentary with Director Kimberly Pierce:

Special Features:

  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes (w/optional commentary)


[tab title="Trailer"]