I have the original “Carrie” sitting on my Netflix list, unfortunately unwatched. So, I can’t really compare the two, but it goes without saying that this newest rendition probably falls short considering Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were both nominated for an Oscar in the 1976 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel by the same name.
However, this newest version certainly stands on its own.
Some may ask why remake a classic, and really it’s quite simple – money. But, on a whole this film is quite entertaining. The added special effects and updated on-screen technology, i.e. cell phones, the Internet, etc., provide a newer audience a nice modern update to a classic. The story itself is essentially the same, and with so much emphasis on bullying in schools and in the media, perhaps “Carrie” resonates even more with younger audiences. It certainly provided insight into what some would call a modern-day epidemic and left the audience really empathizing with Carrie’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) plight.
If you’re unfamiliar with “Carrie” the book, or either film, it’s Stephen King’s first published novel in 1974 that was adapted to film in 1976. The story revolves around Carrie White, a shy teenage outcast who is bullied and embarrassed by her classmates. Unfortunately, after an incident in a girls’ locker room, Carrie becomes even more ostracized. However, it’s during this time that she begins to discover she has telekinetic powers. It all comes to a head at the high school prom when Carrie is part of a horrific prank that sets her off. The result is a lot of dead high-school students, bullies and bystanders alike.
There’s an interesting story behind the creation of “Carrie.” King was at the time an aspiring novelist but penniless and living with his wife in a trailer in Maine. He began working on “Carrie,” initially as a short story for a magazine, but decided that he didn’t know enough about how a teenage girl really operated and tossed his manuscript in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, fortunately pulled it out of the garbage and convinced him to continue. With her guidance, presumably in the psychology of a teenage girl department, King turned the story into a novel, and the rest is history.
Along with the updated modern effects, the two stars are also a joy to watch. Julianne Moore is great as Carrie’s religious zealot of a mother. The beginning of the film shows how mentally disturbing her character is as she contemplates murdering her newborn, but of course she doesn’t. Moore’s intensity is as frightening as Carrie’s telekinetic powers.
Moretz (“Kickass”) is also a breath of fresh air. The young actress has already proven her acting chops in earlier films, and doesn’t disappoint as our flawed protagonist. Though it’s difficult to imagine someone as attractive as Moretz being teased in real life, she comes across as a tortured teen who is able to express sincere pain especially with her big eyes. As she expresses her hesitation to attend the prom with the school heartthrob, you can’t help but feel empathy.
Although I don’t foresee any Oscars for this film, “Carrie” is certainly worth watching. Other reviewers may debate the two films and relish the opportunity to pick apart the new adaptation. But, taken at face value, and especially if you haven’t seen the first film, “Carrie” is certainly worth a view because ultimately it’s entertaining.
3 stars out of 5
“Carrie” is rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.