I’ve broken my pact with the devil to watch nothing but Satanic movies for Halloween. It’s okay, Carrie White is the devil’s daughter anyway.
In case you don’t know, I really, really love the original. I was a bit apprehensive when I heard about the remake, even though I really like Chloë Grace Moretz. I have read the book Carrie and I’ve always remembered how much more destructive Carrie is in the book. She pretty much blows up her whole town. So I did have some hope that maybe the remake wouldn’t be a quick chance to make some money.
I’d say that the remake is a mixed bag but I’m leaning towards the positive.
The movie opens with screaming in a house. You realize that the person screaming is Margaret White (Julianne Moore) and she’s giving birth. The baby comes out and Margaret goes to stab it but then decides to keep it. The movie then returns to familiar territory. Gym class, Carrie’s trying to avoid playing and ends up accidentally hitting Sue in the head with the ball. Carrie gets her period in the shower and thinks she’s dying. There’s no nudity like in the original, which I think probably has something to do with Chloë Grace Moretz’s age. The scene is still brutal though. She clearly thinks she’s dying and the girls are just pelting her with tampons and Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) is recording the whole thing. The plot has been updated to include modern conveniences like smartphones and computers but I don’t think it suffers for it. The rest of the movie is essentially the same as the original. There are parts where the script is the same as the original. I realized I must have watched the original a LOT because I recognized the lines and some of the shots. They included the montage where the girls are getting their hair done and the guys are trying on tuxes. Sadly, there isn’t the guy who looks like Kermit and/or a Fraggle Rock.
The prom itself looks remarkably like the original. Same stars and moon and dark blue theme. There are good aspects to this and bad aspects.
I liked Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore’s performances. Let’s face it, people are going to judge their performances the most. Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carrie is made of sterner stuff than Sissy Spacek’s Carrie. You see her enjoying her powers more than Sissy Spacek’s Carrie. She embraces them more and you see the change in how she carries herself and acts. She’s also a more human Carrie than Sissy Spacek’s version. She shows shame and remorse for what she’s done and a knowledge that she’s become a monster, especially after she kills her mom.
Julianne Moore makes Margaret White her own. Her performance is much more restrained than Piper Laurie’s and also feels more menacing. Moore’s Margaret White is a masochist–watch out for the scene with a seam ripper.
Portia Doubleday’s Chris Hargensen is an unrelenting sociopath aided and abetted by her parents. She’s still creepily fixated on Carrie. I’ve always wondered if bullies pick their targets because they see some of themselves in the target and want to eliminate what they hate.
I like the new Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) who plays Sue like a mean popular girl who realizes she’s done something really shitty. I like this better than the original Sue because I always wondered why Original Sue hung out with Original Chris. In this version, you can see why they were friends and how they were basically the meanest mean girls.
I particularly liked newcomer Ansel Elgort’s Tommy Ross. First of all, it’s nice that he doesn’t look like he’s thirty-five. He plays Tommy with this kind of self-deprecating charm. He’s a jock but he’s not really a bad guy and you can see he’s genuinely pissed and confused when Chris dumps the pig’s blood (Until he’s hit by the bucket.)
So, the performances are good. There’s definitely more destruction in this version but it does seem like an awful lot of kids escape. They also manage to film the ending that they couldn’t afford in the original–Carrie raining stones on her own home, the only way to kill a witch.
Man, this movie relies way too much on CGI. I’m not an automatic CGI hater. It can cut down costs and be used to clean up practical effects gone awry. There are some scenes that just didn’t feel right. In one scene, Carrie makes all the furniture plus Margaret hover in her living room. The scene felt unnecessary, especially because you know Margaret would probably try to kill Carrie right after that. At the prom, Carrie levitates herself over the water and electrical wires. That just felt so unnecessary and cheesy. In the original, Carrie just calmly walks out and that’s way creepier than hovering.
The thing I hated the most, though, is [BEWARE SPOILERS] when Sue goes to Carrie’s house at the end. Carrie reads her mind and sees that Sue didn’t know about the prank. Carrie sees that Sue is pregnant and tells Sue “It’s a girl.” That’s way too sentimental and treacle-y. It felt like they were setting up for a sequel and I still haven’t forgiven or forgotten The Rage: Carrie 2. Also, at the very end, Sue brings a rose to Carrie’s grave (Which has already been defaced with “Carrie White Burns in Hell”) and after the tombstone cracks open. Please, don’t give us a sequel!
Overall, this movie is a mixed bag. I don’t think it added anything new but the performances were good. It’s worth it if you’re a Chloë Grace Moretz and want to see her in a role that’s very different from Hit Girl.