CARRIE

CARRIE

By Gary Murray

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and Gabriella Wilde

Written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Based on the book by Stephen King

Directed by Kimberly Peirce

Running time 100 min

MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating Cable

 

Carrie was a 1976 flick that starred Sissy Spacek.  It was also Stephen King’s first home run from a writing aspect, making the author a household name.   It was also the film that vaulted Brian De Palma onto the A-list of directors.  Believe it or not, it scored some Academy Award nominations.  Well, since no good ideas in Hollywood go untarnished, the cinema gods have seen it fit to give Carrie a 21st century make-over.

The film basically follows the plot of the novel.  Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a girl who was recently home schooled but is now thrown into the cut-throat world of high school.  All the cool kids think she is a freak.

Home life is not healthy.  Her mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) is a religious zealot, believing her daughter is a spawn of sin.  Working as a seamstress, she has little contact with the outside world.  Mom’s main focus is her daughter whom she loves and fears.  Mom spouts verses that are not actually in the Holy Bible.

The downward spiral starts when Carrie gets her first period during gym class.  She has no idea what it happening and begins to freak out.  The other girls in the locker room start chanting ‘Plug it up” and throwing feminine hygiene products at Carrie.  One girl records the incident on her cell phone. The coach (Judy Greer) helps Carrie.

Her becoming a woman also triggers her powers of telekinesis.  She finds that she can move objects around the room.  As she researches her gift, Carrie finds that she is not the only person who has this talent.  Her powers grow the more she practices.

One of the girls posts the video of Carrie on the internet.  It causes a girl to get expelled from prom.  That girl plots her revenge with a bucket of blood on prom night.  Even if one has only seen the movie poster, they would know how this film is going to end—in an orgy of bloody violence.  This is not a film of subtlety.

Carrie is filled with blood almost from the first frame.  It becomes unsettling on more than one occasion when the hemoglobin flows.  Director Kimberly Peirce does not shy away from the more basal aspects of the work.  She revels in the carnage.   She delivers a solid ending punch that needed a solid wind-up.

The most interesting aspect of the entire work becomes the love/hate relationship between the mother and daughter.  It is an age-old conflict that is given a supernatural twist.  The dynamic belays the variance of the two women, one who is fearful and one who becomes in-touch with how to control the world.

Chloe Grace Moretz is the coolest girl working in Hollywood.  She was Hit Girl in Kick Ass and a vampire in Let Me In.  She was easily the best part of Dark Shadows. Here she plays a conflicted young woman, someone who wants to be accepted but has severe trust issues.  She plays it more as a tragic wounded warrior than a milquetoast victim.  It is yet another fine reading from the young actress.

Julianne Moore is one of the best actresses on the planet and can play crazed religious zealot with her eyes closed.   This is the kind of role she has done a dozen times before but still revels in the little touches that make the role just that much creepier.

The problem with this reboot is that it takes too long to get to the good stuff.  Director Kimberly Peirce is no Brian De Palma.  She never finds the right beats at the beginning of the work, never builds on the tension.   While the last of the film is a CGI wonder, the power of the film is lost in remaking it. 

Carrie is a re-make and like 99% of all other re-makes, it pales in comparison with the original.  Yes, the effects update is the main selling point of the film, one still has to ask not ‘what is the selling point’ but ‘what is the point of even doing it?

 

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