What I'm Watching: Carrie 2013
So, let's see. I'm a huge Stephen King fan, I've read the book, I've seen the original Carrie...but it has been forever since I've partaken of either of them, so I'm gonna avoid comparing the remake to those TOO much, because that's not far.
Still, certain things stick with you no matter what, and comparrisons are hard to avoid in this situation, but since memories are super fuzzy, keep that in mind.
Do I really need to some up the plight of poor Carrie White? We all know the gist by now, right? Girl has her period, turns out to be Jean Grey in disguise, and after getting pigs' blood spilled on her goes all turbo Dark Phoenix on her tormentors, right?
With that out of the way, I *really* enjoyed the remake. It hit all the right notes, and a movie exploring the Very Real horror of bullying is always a timeless thing you can and should talk about. And having those actions have consequences most terrible, even if they are highly fictionalised by way of telepathic vengeance, the metaphor still holds up today; as well as the metaphor of female empowerment.
My love of Chloe Moretz is no secret, and even in lesser movies like Dark Shadows, she always brings her A game and is easily one of the best actors out there today. And pairing her with Julianne Moore as Carrie and her mother make for quite the acting tour de force.
Are they better than the original? Yes and no. I'd say Sissy Spacek was far better at being Carrie the outcast on multiple levels, but Chloe is SO good at portraying a shy, quiet introvert for most of the movie, that you easily buy into her take on the character, and the dark turn she takes after her blood shower is great. And Julianne Moore does such a great job of protraying Carrie's mom, she is so terrifying in her dominance (Until she loses control of the situation) of her daughter, that you forget about any other role she's done before. And yet she also brings a level of understanding to the character, if not just a hint of sympathy.
So while the original has some things going for it, if they HAD to make a remake of this, I don't think there are two better actors who could have carried it off as well as the two we got.
The most surprising thing about the movie, was the updating. Whenever you do a remake these days, especially with something set as long ago as the late 70s, and you make it contemporary, you run into the problems of technology. And it's a little bit frightening HOW MUCH WORSE the bullying of Carrie becomes all because of cellphones and YouTube. That alone almost justifies this remake existing.
It was well-cast, well-updated, and pretty well directed, considering they're going up against someone like Brian de Palma, I'd say they held up pretty well. I'd say, if anything, the movie is a little TOO faithful to de Palma, but at least they didn't go full on "Psycho" with it.
My biggest problem with the movie is, you guessed it, the ending. They try to tack on one last scare, one last WTF moment, and it just doesn't work. If you ignore the final 30 seconds of the movie, it's great. And fortunately, those final few moments are so much their own separate entity that you can pretty much stick your fingers in your ears and pretend they don't exist, and not ruin the movie at in the slightest. But hey, endings are hard, and they *mostly* nail it on the Carrie storyline.
If you've never seen the original movie, this is definitely worth seeing, and even for the fans of the original, I'd say this is worth a look. If you're gonna do a remake, this is almost exactly the way it should be done.