I thought that nowadays, someone like Carrie White would be the class slut. At least at my school she would have been. That, or my girlfriend.
You know the story by now, but just in case, I’m going to regurgitate it one more time. Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the weird girl at school that nobody likes, nobody talks to, and everybody practically picks on. Most of this has to do with the fact that her mom (Julianne Moore) is known as a total nut, but it also has to do with the fact that she’s just plain and simply a quiet person who lays low in the back of the class, doesn’t talk, doesn’t get involved, except for when she’s forced to recite poems that have no meaning to anybody else in the class. After an incident she has in the shower, one that she is ultimately ridiculed for by all of the other gals, Carrie is even more embarrassed than ever. However, she starts to gain back some of her confidence when she realizes that she has these telekinetic powers that allows her to move anything, at anytime, and at any force. And better yet, she’s been invited to the prom by the popular jock at the school, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), which, yes, was down out of pity from his girlfriend (Gabriella Wilde), but still gives Carrie’s life new meaning. I mean, Christ, it’s the prom! How bad could it be?
In case you haven’t seen by now, not only did I do a review on the 1976 original, but I saw it for the seventh time and I have to say, it surely was a charm. In fact, it was more than just a charm, it was a great experience that I’d never felt with the movie before. Suddenly, all of the points King’s original source material was trying to make, came right out at me and hit me slap-dab right in the face, making me think more about high school life, being an adolescent, and how all of that harsh bullying can effect one person’s life, for the better or for the worse. Obviously in this case, it was for the worse, but at least it still had me thinking.
That’s why, after watching that not too long before I saw this, I realized all there was so many problems with this remake, however, the main which just stems from the problem that Kimberly Peirce, somebody so talented and thought-provoking, even with only two films under her belt, seemed like she was really phoning it in here. There may be a good reason for that (she may be saving up all of her money from this to make that next, big important piece of film), but only time will tell. As for right now, in the year 2013, I have to say I am very disappointed with what she’s brought to the table in terms of remakes, and most importantly: To the story of Carrie itself.
In fact, nothing new, improved, or original at all seems to have been brought to the table with this remake; except for maybe the inclusion of social-media websites, YouTube, and texting which, in a way, makes Carrie’s bullying worse. However, it’s strange because while the type of torment that Carrie takes does get surprisingly upped, you still don’t care because it’s such a minor inclusion, that the movie could have literally gone on without it. Other than this minor add-on, nothing else in this remake really stands out, as maybe only a couple of character’s lines or motivations will be changed around, just so that Peirce can show everybody that this is still her work, and she’s going to try and mess around with it as much as she can.
However, changes or no changes, this movie still would have failed as a remake for what they do with the ultimate prom scene at the end, something which, as we all know, has become iconic by now. What Perice does with this character of Carrie White is that she makes her more savvy to her powers. Rather than having Carrie frightened at the possibilities of hurting other people and having literally no control over it, Carrie now knows that she can hurt others with her powers, can control them, and will stop at nothing to extract revenge upon those who deserve hers the most. While most of these people do have it coming to them, it’s still strange because with this self-knowingness of what it is that she can do and how, Carrie becomes somewhat less sympathetic, and more of a horror anti-hero; except that she’s more of an anti-hero that we want her to do these bad things, yet, know she’s a better person than any of them.
That’s why when the prom sequence eventually shows up to do its story justice, there’s a weird feeling surrounding it that feels slightly off. You never quite cheer for Carrie, nor do you ever root against her either. You’re sort of just watching her kill/and or harm these people, some of which deserve it, some of which don’t, and it has no effect on you whatsoever. Not like the original where there was plenty of emotion going around that not only had you feel bad for Carrie that she’s been humiliated in front of all these people and want her to extract revenge, but you also feel bad for the kids she’s taking it out upon as well. It’s that approach that made that movie more than just your traditional, run-of-the-mill horror flick; whereas this one, on the other hand, IS that traditional, run-of-the-mill horror flick.
Except this time, we’ve seen it all before and not much has changed since. Well, kids do sext now, so I guess that’s somewhat new.
And while I do think that she’s a bright, young, and talented face that the mainstream should not let-go of, Chloë Grace Moretz just is not right for this role. Regardless of how Peirce’s movie paints her as, Moretz feels like she’s too smart for this character of Carrie White to be so naive and upset. Nor, however, does she really seem like she’s all that powerful or vicious to really start killing all of these people in the most hideous, disturbing ways possible. She just seems like a lonely, sad, and a bit shy. That worked for Sissy Spacek all of those years ago, and added more depth to her, however here, Carrie comes off as dull and uninteresting. Which, in and of itself, is pretty interesting, except for all of the wrong reasons.
Same goes for Julianne Moore who, is one of the best working-actresses today, and yet, comes off as a complete joke here with her performance as Carrie’s mom. She’s over-the-top, which is probably what the script called of her to be, but she goes way overboard, way quick, and doesn’t even seem like she really loves her daughter. She actually seems more infatuated with hurting herself at random times, whenever she sees fit. She’s laughable to watch and once again, that may be what she was assigned to be in the first place, but rather than coming off like a nut job that also seems to be a real person, with a real heart, and real emotions, she seems like she came right out of a Scary Movie movie, slumming it up for the paycheck. And hey, with the career she’s had, she deserves it. Let’s just not make a habit of it now, okay, Jules?
However, not everybody is terrible in this cast, and surprisingly, most come off as more interesting and more sympathetic. Judy Greer plays the no-nonsense, smart gym teacher that looks after Carrie and makes sure she isn’t being played with, and while Judy Greer is great in almost anything she shows her pretty face in, she does seem a bit dull here, doing what she can to make this teacher hip, cool, happenin’, but also very serious about her job and the kids she cares for. The one out of the whole cast that really worked well for me was Ansel Elgort playing Tommy Ross. The cool angle Peirce takes with this character is that even though Tommy Ross is still the school jock, he’s still an ultra nice guy that feels like his heart is in the right place and also just wants to do right so that he can go back and bang that sweet arse of his that he calls his girlfriend. That may make him seem less sympathetic, but in my eyes, it just makes him seem more of a real person, something this movie desperately needed more of. From what I read in the press notes, Elgort is a newcomer, and with this being his first movie, I can safely say the kid’s got a bright future ahead of him. Just steer clear of remakes, kid. Especially ones as dull as this.
Consensus: Want to save some money, time, and still have the chance of getting laid? Stay home, find the original Carrie, and rent it. Don’t even bother with this junk as it just gives you the same story, with a minor differences thrown in there which ultimately, do nothing for the movie or your interest-meter. Trust me.
2 / 10 = Crapola!!