By Mike Dyer, Staff Writer
What can I say about a film that is the 2nd remake of a film originally released in 1976 and based off of a book from 1974? Add to that, the book in question just happens to be the first book published by Stephen King? As a movie lover who has only seen the first film I can only compare it to the version I have seen while making judgments on this new version.
‘Carrie’ is the story of shy, over sheltered high school senior Carrie White. When Carrie isn’t being mocked by her classmates, she is at home with her overly religious, mentally unstable mother Margret White. When Carrie discovers her first menstrual period, her mother forces her to pray in a closet filled with religious symbolism. Margaret, believing her daughter has sinned, tells her daughter to pray for forgiveness and leaves Carrie to scream for hours on end. As her senior year comes towards a close, Carrie’s late menstrual cycle seems to have triggered certain telekinetic powers. She then begins to spend her free time in the school library researching telekinesis while practicing her “gifts” in little ways.
Kick-Ass star Chloë Grace Moretz takes on the role of the film’s title character while Julianne Moore portrays her mother Margaret White. In respect to the original, both actresses have big shoes to fill as both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie earned Academy Award nominations in 1976 for playing these same characters. While I don’t see Oscars in the future of Moretz and Moore for their work in this film, they both do the roles justice. But, at times, Moretz acting ability is overshadowed by Moore, who is truly frightening in the role of Margret White.
Directed by Kimberly Pierce, this updated ‘Carrie’ deals with current social issues like cyber-bullying, but in most other aspects is not so much of a modern re-telling as a shot for shot remake. In truth ‘Carrie’ plays more like a Greek tragedy than a horror flick. I understand how the tension has to slowly build to the climax but in this incarnation the story is pushed along by dull side characters, cheesy special effects, and extreme close up shots. All of this was enough to make me look at the guy next to me half way through and ask: “Can we just get to the part where she kills everybody?” To me, the film is so close to the original that I didn’t find the film as enjoyable, as I hoped.
So is ‘Carrie’ worth it? For me, not so much. This film is so close in character, tone and setting to the original it doesn’t reach out to me as a necessary re-telling. Other than some changes in technology not much is different. I can only see someone enjoying the film if they are experiencing the story for the first time. Then, and only then, might you get scared at a few points. If you are lucky, ‘Carrie’ might have you glued to your seat rather looking at the exit door, wishing that you were home in your prayer closet begging for the film to improve. All the while the story of this misunderstood, underdog teenager unfolds for the third time in cinematic history.