There will be blood. Lots of it. Not much of a surprise to people who had seen the original 1976 film by Brian De Palma, not to readers of the source material, Stephen King’s first published novel. In fact, there is little in the way of diversion in the 2013 remake of “Carrie”, with the tweaks to the events that 1970s visual effects couldn’t replicate onscreen. They even kept my favourite line: “I can see your dirty pillows!”
Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is an outsider at high school, having been raised by her brutal and religiously fanatical mother (Julianne Moore) and home-schooled for much of her life. High schools – particularly hyper-coloured movie high schools – are tough places, and she is made an object of public ridicule when her sheltered upbringing fails to warn her about what happens during puberty.
The events following this lead Carrie to gain confidence via newly-found telekinetic abilities, and for deranged queen bitch Chris (Portia Doubleday) to hatch a plot to humiliate her even more at the graduation prom. As you can imagine, this doesn’t end well for anyone, but I won’t say what happens.
I wasn’t too fussed about seeing this film, given the parade of rubbishy teen-skewed gore-fest movies I’ve seen over recent years. But I was pleased that this didn’t do much to meddle with the strong story, nor rely on jump-scares like practically all horror movies do now.
The main cast did a good job too, Chloe and Julianne particularly wonderful, as was the sympathetic and believable gym teacher (Judy Greer) . The supporting teen cast were a little one-dimensional, with Portia’s spoilt mean girl practically chewing the scenery. But then I guess the plot to humiliate Carrie needed a particularly unhinged mind to dream it up.
The slow build of the film was judged about right, and the riotous climax of the film was worth the wait. Chloe excelled herself here, we’ve seen that dark edge to her in “Kick Ass” and her change from a meek and downtrodden girl to a gradually more powerful creature was really well performed.
Perhaps the direction did occasionally lean towards the slightly exploitative, from the opening swimming pool scene (though I think the 70s equivalent was much more guilty of that), to the gruesome coup de grace and its fixation with slow-motion violent shots. But overall it hit much more than it missed, and I got totally caught up in it.
With this remake doubling its budget in box office takings, I wonder how long it’ll be before we see an update of “The Shining” or “Kujo”…
Usually I finish these reviews with the trailer, but I couldn’t find one that gave too much away, so if you’ve never seen or read “Carrie”, just go and see it!