“Carrie” is an almost scene-by-scene remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic. De Palma’s “Carrie” is a horror masterpiece that still holds strong today, with two great lead performances and a scary final act. While the “Carrie” remake has a lot of talent, it fails to live up to the original film and to reach the level of a good movie.
Based off the Stephen King novel of the same name, “Carrie,” follows Carrie White (Chole Grace Moretz), a miserable high schooler who is bullied by her peers and abused by her religious fanatic mother (Julianne Moore). She discovers at the arrival of her first period, that she has telekinetic powers. After her classmates pull a cruel prank on her at prom, Carrie snaps and uses her powers to get revenge on everyone who has tormented her.
Both King and De Palma previously told this story through the male perspective, so director Kimberly Peirce had a golden opportunity to tell the story through a different viewpoint, highlighting the emotional struggle of a female high school student. Instead, Peirce not only tells the same exact story, but also removes the horror aspect in favor of making an action film in the final act, which in turn removes the message of the entire story.
Julianne Moore is unsurprisingly great as Carrie’s psychotic mom, but the film tries to turn her character into a self-mutilating character that we are suppose to feel for, all while she still spouts the same dialogue from the 70s. If the characters are going to be updated, the story and dialogue must be updated also.
Still, the biggest disappointment is Moretz as Carrie. Moretz is a brilliant actress, but in this film, she fails to turn on the charm. Carrie is supposed to be a quiet, nerdy, introvert, but Moretz displays none of that. In this film her character gets picked on because she is sweet and intelligent, which might be a commentary on modern day high school, but again, that undermines the stories message.
One of the reasons Carrie is so revered is because it is one of the few horror films that actually portrays a message. The film always had a strong anti-bullying message, but the mistreatment of the characters actually removes the idea and makes “Carrie” just a dull film to watch that does not say or do anything new.
So why remake “Carrie?” It becomes painfully obvious once the final act roles around. In the original movie, the psychic rampage at the end was the big pay off, we finally see Carrie have her mental breakdown after all the pain she has endured. It was character driven, which really brought the moment home. The new movie turns the final act into a CGI gore-fest, spending more time on how much destruction they can cause and what it looks like in modern telling. It removes all the character from the film, and makes an already bad film even worse.
“Carrie” is the perfect example of the current state of Hollywood. It is an industry that is so devoid of creativity that it constantly reboots popular films of the past in hopes to profit off of the history of the film. The individual pieces of this film sound great, but when put together, it simply makes a mess that fails to capture any of the charm or character from the source material. We deserved a better big-budget horror film than what we got this Halloween.