Remakes are a dime a dozen these days. But with a theme that might even be more prevalent today than it was in the 1970’s, perhaps Carrie was the best movie to update. The latest remake doesn’t quite stand up to the original, but works well for a modern audience.
If you’re behind on the times, here’s the gist: Carrie White (Chloë Moretz) is a socially awkward high schooler being raised (and abused) by her religious zealot of a mother (Julianne Moore). Margaret White isn’t carrie’s only tormentor; her loner status makes her a prime target for the queen bee bullies, including Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde). But Sue has a change of heart after an especially mean attack on Carrie lands their whole clique in detention, their prom privileges threatened. She even convinces her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to prom, forfeiting her own spot as potential queen. But Chris isn’t having it, and plans an attack on Carrie that would make modern Facebook and Twitter bullies look tame. What Chris doesn’t know is Carrie has a secret weapon in her arsenal: She is telekinetic. And when you make a telekinetic girl mad…let’s just say this prom will be to die for.
Back when a potential Carrie remake was first reported, yours truly predicted an updated story where Carrie’s tormentors would use cyberbullying to get to her. Sure enough, the first attack is recorded on a cell phone and posted on the internet. Despite Carrie being the title character, populars Sue and Chris get a nice chunk of screen time, showing different aspects of bullying: The tormentor who feels violated and justifies her attacks, and the former bully who wants to make things right.
Unfortunately, the primary actors are nowhere near as good as the originals. As fantastic as Chloë Moretz and Julianne Moore normally are, they can never match Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie (who got Oscar attention for their performances, a rarity in horror). But Gabriella Wilde and Portia Doubleday shine as Sue Snell and Chris Hargensen, respectively.
One thing this remake does better is the climax. Slow buildups are rare in an age where movies favor loud car chases and screen splattering gore. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of violence here, but the story is paced perfectly to lead to a more than satisfying conclusion.
The Carrie remake can’t quite stand up to the original, but does a good job at updating a classic. Check it out if you can…and remember, never make a telekinetic girl mad.
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