Kimberly Peirce & Chloe Grace Moretz bring Carrie White up to date with the times
Carrie is the modern day retelling of the 1976 horror classic of the same name. The story behind the character Carrie is based on a book by author Stephen King. This updated reimagining tells the story of Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), who lives at home with her overly religious mother Margaret (Julianne Moore). Carrie was home schooled for most her life due to the fact that her mother was afraid how the world would treat her daughter. After being ordered by the school board that her homeschooling methods did not meet state standards, Margaret has no choice but to send Carrie to public school. After spending most of her life around her religious mother, Carrie has no understanding of how a typical high schooler is suppose to act. One day during gym class, Carrie falls victim to a prank that soon becomes known throughout the school and the town. As a result of this prank, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) begins to feel guilty for partaking in the prank and asks her boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to prom so she can feel special. Meanwhile, Chris (Portia Doubleday) is figuring out how she can get back at Carrie for getting her banned from attending senior prom.
I grew up watching a lot of classic horror films including Carrie since I was a 80s child. The original Carrie, which starred Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, was a film that all the telekinetic powers aside, was a movie about a likable girl who was bullied for being different. Carrie White is someone who I feel a lot of those who were labeled as outcasts or were bullied in school could connect with and relate to. This new version of Carrie takes the same principle idea and just modernizes it. I think the result works wonderfully although after my screening, I can tell that people will be divided on what Kimberly Peirce did with the tale.
As for me, I really loved the film and felt that almost everything that Peirce did to bring this story up to date was done in a way that perfectly modernized the source material while staying loyal to it. First off, there is just something about the story of Carrie that just seems to incredibly relevant to our society today. The fact that bullying has become such a hot button issue over the past few years is really one of the key reasons why this film works as well as it does. With that being said, I like how Peirce not only featured regular school bullying but addressed cyber bullying as well. Again, some might not like this take on the classic story, but for me it worked wonders especially considering the world that we now live in.
Besides the changes to the story, I liked the casting choices and we can start right with Chole Grace Moretz as Carrie. I have watched Moretz grow over the years as an actress and seeing her play such an iconic role is really something that I feel many have been questioning. Again, I think Moretz as a person has this look to her that makes her the perfect fit to play Carrie. Moretz also uses her creepy stares and her facial mannerisms to really make the character pop and make it her own. I totally loved her as Carrie and even felt for her. What she goes through as a character at both school and at home would make any “normal” person feel bad for her. It should also be noted that Carrie White is a likable character because I think deep down most of us who watch films like this can relate to her in some degree.
As for Julianne Moore as Carrie’s mother Margaret well that was just perfect casting in my opinion. I think the opening scene really set the tone for how crazy her character was. There are several scenes were Margaret is arguing/yelling at Carrie that were so incredibly mean spirited that you just wish someone would rescue Carrie so she can lead a semi-normal life. I think the Margaret character showcases maybe on a really extreme level, just how crazy some of those overly religious people come off. This woman was insane and man what she said to Carrie in some scenes should never be said to a child no matter how shitty your life is.
There are a few other key players who I believe are worthy of a mention including Portia Doubleday as Chris, Ansel Elgort as Tommy, Gabriella Wilde as Sue, and lastly Judy Greer as Ms. Desjardin. Now, out of all these roles, Doubleday’s depiction of Chris was by far the best in the film. She was such an evil bitch and she just didn’t know when to stop with her manipulative ways. There are several scenes in the film including the famous pig blood scene where you as a viewer, see her as pure evil. I HATED her and that is what made her so great as the film’s villain. As for Wilde and Elgort, I liked them because they were two people, who actually had a conscience for what they have done and I felt it worked to help offset the evil that was Chris. As for Greer, I feel like a teacher like Ms. Desjardin exists in every high school and even if she isn’t typically the gym teacher, she usually is part of the high school experience.
Now, I am not going to sit back and say that Carrie is a flawless film because that isn’t the case at all. I can see how many may argue that all the characters were extremes and if I had to say anything negative about this remake as well as the original 1976 version is that almost all the characters were extremes. The evil characters are all extremely evil and very over the top, while the other characters seem like they are just too self conscious and soft. Also another thing I can really complain about is how Carrie is always the victim, even in the film’s opening scene. I think most flaws within this film and the original film exist because of the source material by Stephen King rather than the actors, screenwriter, and director.
If I had to point out some of the film’s more minor flaws, I would really have to focus on some of the visual elements of the film. There are several moments in the film where the CGI just looked so incredibly fake and I think the small budget hurt the film from a visual perspective. The burning house scene near the end was extremely fake looking and hurt a really powerful scene in the film. Moving away for the visual flaws, I thought that the final shot of the film was just pathetic, over the top, and cheesy. I wish that Kimberly Perice took that out because it was so incredibly unnecessary and stupid. It was so bad that it actually made me angry and want to lower my score even though I found the vast majority of the film to be on part with the original.
All in All, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this modern retelling of Carrie. I thought that the film as a whole was just as good as the original and managed to subtlety bring the content up to date for a modern audience. I thought the casting was dead on and the film’s pacing was great. It was definitely a movie that combines the classic coming of age story with horror and I felt that Kimberly Peirce successfully updated a classic for a new audience to enjoy. I think the older generation may have gripes with some of the new changes but for the most part compared to the vast majority of remakes nowadays, Carrie is something that really succeeds and is worthy of your time.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Carrie is a 8 out of 10.