Everyone is calling director Kimberly Peirce’s Carrie a “reimagining” or a remake of the 1976 Brian De Palma film. That may be the case, but after watching the film, comparing Peirce’s film to the 1976 horror classic would be doing the film an injustice. In my opinion, this Carrie is more of an adaptation of the 1974 Stephen King novel of the same name. It’s considerably more violent and I’m happy to say it’s not a shot for shot remake
Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a shy high school teen with an over-protective and deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore). Bullied at school and made fun of by both students and teachers, Carrie has no one to turn to but herself. When she starts to learn of her telekinetic abilities, Carrie explores just how powerful she can become, especially after one horrifying prom night.
There are a few key points in Carrie that Peirce explored more in depth and Carrie’s telekinetic powers are introduced much earlier in the film than I expected, which ended up working for the better. Her short-lived “relationship” with Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) is given more depth and Moretz’s Carrie is likable and much of the time acts like a normal timid teen that just wants to fit in.
In fact, the villain of the film is not so much Carrie’s deranged mother, but the bullies at her school. Chris (an amazingly bitch-tastic performance from Portia Doubleday) takes the cake as the ultimate high school mean girl. Watching her torment and bully Carrie is a fantastic build-up to how and why Carrie loses it in the end. Alex Russell (2011’s Chronicle) takes on the pivotal John Travolta role as Billy Nolan and the pig farm scene is even more disturbing this time around if you can believe it.
In this Carrie, Peirce allows the audience more time to connect with the character and Moretz completely loses herself in the title role. I have yet to see Chloe Grace Moretz in a role I didn’t like and the actress is only 16 years old. She is exquisite as both shy and terrifying Carrie and in the famous climatic scene of the film she will blow you away. I loved how expressive her face was and how the actress used her body to physically transform into the telekinetic teenager.
Julianne Moore adds an extra layer of crazy as Margaret, especially in the opening scene of the film. It’s too eerie to spoil, but I will say it gives the viewer a chance to meet Margaret before life with Carrie.
It’s almost impossible not to compare Brian De Palma to Kimberly Peirce and Spacek to Moretz but each Carrie holds their own in a way that author Stephen King would be proud.
2013’s Carrie will not replace the original, but who said it was supposed to? Both have their own horrifying charms and equally memorable scenes. Horror genre fans and regular moviegoers will find something special here in Peirce’s take of the King novel.