DIRECTOR: Kimberly Peirce
CAST: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Ansel Elgort, Portia Doubleday
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
I always thought Carrie – the 1976 horror film based on Stephen King’s debut novel about a telekinetic teenage misfit whose self-loathing turns outward when she is bullied – was more sad than scary.
It was disturbing and almost operatic in the climactic crescendo of violence through which Brian De Palma depicted the title character wreaking havoc on her tormentors, in a high-school gymnasium, on prom night.
But despite (or perhaps because of) seeing acne-prone evil-doers punished, with a mythic and indiscriminate fury, it felt more like Greek tragedy than horror.
Director Peirce has called her remake, starring Moretz in the role made famous by Sissy Spacek, a “superhero origin story”. And there are moments when her film feels a bit like the next X-Men instalment.
For the most part though, Carrie holds its power to rattle, thanks to a sympathetic per- formance by Moretz and an icky one by Moore, as Carrie’s religiously crazy mother, who regularly locks her daughter in a closet and mutilates herself with sewing tools.
Superhero or supervillain, Carrie is enormously relatable. The tale of a gawky teen who is led to believe that the class hunk (Elgort) likes her, but who is then humiliated by a mean girl (Doubleday), is heartbreaking.
That story is strengthened by the passage of time. The first Carrie could be read as a universal tale of adolescence.
Who hasn’t felt like a freak in school, or fantasised about lashing out after being hurt?
But recent events – such as the Columbine massacre – have added resonance to the material.
Peirce takes full advantage of this zeitgeist, updating the story for the Facebook and YouTube generation. Early in the film, in the famous shower scene when Carrie gets her period without knowing what it is, a classmate whips out her cellphone, and then posts the video of a bloody, bawling Carrie online.
Is Carrie an improvement on the original? No. De Palma’s film is a classic, and its theme of the bullied becoming the bully still resonates. But the new film works for a new audience. It’s as affecting as drama as it is effective as horror.
Cinematically, it may be unnecessary. But from a socio- logical standpoint, perhaps we need Carrie now more than ever. – Washington Post
If you liked Chronicle or Evil Dead (2013) you will like this.