28 Nov 2013

'Carrie (2013)' Review

"You Know the Devil comes back, You just have to keep Killing Him."


Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde
Running Time: 100 mins
Sub-Genre: Drama, Thriller, Supernatural, Revenge
Release: November 2013 (UK)

re-imagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

Remakes have come a long way, the hate they have received hasn't stopped Hollywood from making them, and although we get some horrible remakes with the likes of The Wicker Man, The Fog and A Nightmare on Elm Street, we have also got some impressive attempts such as Evil Dead, The Hills Have Eyes and in some senses, Halloween. Brian De Palma's Carrie was an instant classic, it's mix of teen anguish and outcast redemption made for a compelling piece of film making, all topped off with the superb prom scene and a compelling performance from Sissy Spacek. Peirce's telling of King's classic novel proves little new to the imagination, and despite the amount of ground it copies from the original, 2013's Carrie proves to be a soulful and relevant supernatural horror.

Kimberly Peirce's ambition may have gotten in the way here, but Carrie seems as appropriate as ever. The theme of teen individuality and torture works just as well know as it did back in 76, and with Peirce's smart next-gen update, it becomes as powerful as ever. You may think watching girls throw tampons at another chanting "Plug it up!" is bad until you watch it while the girls are videoing it. The technology update works in its benefit to a high degree, but a lot of the source material and display feels a little dated. The story of bullying is more defined by cyber-bullying, so seeing the video's and the Facebook updating makes it work. The teens however (who, by the way ain't 17) follow closely to De Palma's templates, so the cheesy one liners just don't work as well as they did in '76.

The character of Carrie played by the talented Chloe Grace Moretz comes into her own in this update,  and the control she has over her powers subtract from the whole back story of the character and how she gained it, and at times makes it feel like you are watching the origin story of Jean Grey. The simplistic beauty of Sissy Spacek's Carrie caused a bigger impact by the time it came to the prom scene pigs blood hoopla, but despite the strong performance from Moretz, her version just seems too dominant and not endearing. She captures the fragile innocence of Spacek's Carrie, but Moretz's doesn't attract the sympathy that Peirce might have imagined, therefore when the bullying is taken that one bit further, the feeling of sorrow and vengeance isn't as perfected as it needed to be. Moretz is good, but she just isn't Spacek.

The narrative comes across as rushed, and like the horny teens within, it doesn't give itself time to breathe and let things naturally unravel. We go from one incident to the other, leaving little room for the intensity to expand, so by the time the prom scene happens, you can't help but feel the past hour has been a waste of time. It was packed full of teen anguish and telekinesis delight, but by the time the blood splashes over Carrie and he hand-made dress, you know you are in for a final act of sheer enjoyment. The prom scene is stronger here than it ever was, and when it happens it makes you feel like it was worth the wait - what follows after however doesn't match up to the flare of that scene. A little less CGI and a little more practical effects could have gone a long way here, but watching someone face getting crushed against glass could only be pulled off with today's technology.

The combination of winning performances from Moretz and Moore keep things fresh and intense, the tension and heat between the pair cause an unease when viewing that pays off during the final showdown between mother and daughter. All of this plus more is easily overlooked by how similar Peirce's version is to the original. Commenting saying how she focused more on the book proves false as some of the shots and scenes are uncanny. At times, Peirce's version seems horribly unnecessary as the approach is worryingly similar; however, It didn't feel like a re-watch. Maybe this new update added a new edge to the remake, either way, I enjoyed watching it.

VERDICT: Despite being unnecessarily familiar to Palma's original, Peirce's re-telling of Carrie is still strong due to the modern telling of teen anguish along with the fantastic performances from both Moretz and Moore. For a remake, it's pretty impressive, and you can't go wrong with a good old Prom scene.


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