This corn-syrup bloodfest calls to a new generation of tweens, bullies, geeks, nerds and beauties but how does Carrie 2.0 measure up against De Palma’s legendary take on this classic horror story?
Now, let me point one to the number of reasons a remake may exist:
1: Easy money
2: Improvements upon the original
3: To call awareness to an issue of the time
It’s hard to tell which of these Carrie did successfully: being a fairly high grossing film in the states during 2013 whilst garnering average scores from critic and viewer alike. Improving on the second remake but rarely taking risks. Showing the inhuman side of children but finding so little characters to latch onto. It’s a mixed bag and it’s malice. Never let it be said that this rehash can compete with Aja’s remake of ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ or Craven’s redone ‘Last House’ in 2009 but as I’ve stated this can be done and it can be done wonderfully.
Firstly, I’ll start in an unexpected place. The music in Carrie is killer. From Hanni El Khatib’s western indie vibe ‘Come Alive’ to Vampire Weekend’s rip roaring ‘Diane Young’ every song adds to every scene. The majority of which is captured youth in a bottle. This is one of the strongest, liveliest, happiest and danciest soundtracks of the decade. Perfect for synth pop layered parties and prom type shenanigans. Chloe Moretz is a great actor with proven chops and range, albeit maybe a bit too pretty for her role as the titular title character. Nevertheless, she gives just enough morosity, ferocity and hopeful optimism to sail through as a carrier of the film. Julianne Moore is the standout, nailing crazy as she swings from damning all to harming herself. And somehow, someway - you may be suckered just like me into sympathising with this woman despite how she is with her daughter… There’s a for and an against but that’s for another time. I’d also like to honorably mention characters Tommy and Miss Jardine (whose real life names escape me) but whose performances are utterly memorable. Funnily enough, they’re two of the core likeables in this roster of sadists. Positively also, are the methods of the majority of deaths which are fitting, crazy and cringe inducing at their best. To cap it off, I’d be at fault if i didn’t mention the emotional punch. I won’t give it away even if it may be obvious, but the Carrie remake harvests feeling from the viewer - a big plus in of itself.
Which brings us to the downsides of this ill fated remake; in that, it can’t hold a candle to the original and is ultimately forgettable despite being relevant now. This is a story that (at the time of remake release) was almost forty years old. King purists have had their fill and De Palma purists know their version is pretty untouchable. This Carrie is neither Shining film quality, nor Shawshank worthy, nor even as beloved as the IT Miniseries. It’s not a monster marvel like ‘The Mist’ or a creepy hotel crawler like ‘1408’ and it won’t hold up like ‘The Green Mile’ Some actors and actresses aren’t fleshed out enough. Some sequences could’ve been cut, added or lengthened. A bigger sin is the ending, that final cut, something that was special to the original. Gone. The remake trades it in, cheapening the overall result.
In conclusion (for better or worse) Carrie 2013 is spiteful, gory but not actually scary. The soundtrack drips with atmosphere through feel good indie tunes and Julianne Moore is barking mad in the best way. However, Chloe Moretz is no Sissy Spacek. The film looks great, ends poor, plays good but has very little staying power compared to other King hits.