I usually groan at the sight of a classic movie being remade in today’s landscape, so I was very hesitant knowing that Carrie was in production. I really didn’t feel it needed to be even considered for a remake since I couldn’t see how they can add anymore to the story. Remakes are hardly successful creatively and often looked upon as a cheap cash grab and a good way to market a well-known product to a new legion of fans who don’t know the original. But the Carrie remake wasn’t that bad and not that great either. It didn’t exactly offer anything we haven’t seen in the original or the other litany of teen movies that covers high school bullying. It does have two very effective performances from the leads Julianne Moore playing Margaret White and Chloe Grace Moretz as the titular Carrie. They help it from becoming stagnant and boring if everything else is. Carrie isn’t going to erase memories from the original but the performances from the leading ladies movies it along swimmingly. Carrie introduces itself to a new generation, even if it didn’t really need too.
I’ve always liked Julianne Moore as she can pull off anything and make it enthralling. So her as the mother to Carrie made sense to me. She plays a heavily, religious, devout, crazy, nutbag so well honoring the original performance by Piper Laurie. She is the real monster to this movie and Julianne Moore goes all out with such gusto. You could clearly see she’s having fun relishing in this disturbing world, quoting biblical scripture and threatening eternal damnation. Seeing her try to talk to a parent of a child who made fun of Carrie was particularly creepy and disturbing. She hardly said anything in that scene but her facial expressions spoke volumes and were more powerful than if she said more than a few words. You see how far gone she is from reality and not being able to calmly talk to someone in a normal setting without freaking out. This is a hard role to pull off convincingly sometimes as it can look overly cheesy from other actresses. But Julianne Moore pulls it back enough that you clearly see the ugly, perverted, biblical world that has infused within her being, tormenting those who don’t adhere to her words. I don’t want to compare but it’s hard not to. But the original mother played by Piper Laurie showed a more horrifying, sick, twisted side that made it so good and was missing from Julianne Moore’s performance.
Chloe Grace Moretz is a young actress slowly making her mark in a wide variety of films. She exudes a great confidence within her roles at such a young age and it shows with Carrie. She plays a very good Carrie White. Although at times I couldn’t help but see Hit Girl and how she dealt with bitchy high school girls in a more humorous and effective manner. As Carrie she is vulnerable, afraid, shy, worrisome all things that usually make up life as a young teenager. But it’s; ramped up here to such a high degree that it becomes believable through her eyes. You could see a girl like that go through similar problems. I have heard that Chloe Grace Moretz was too attractive to play a frumpy, lonely girl with no friends. This is stupid and makes no sense at all by basically saying if you’re attractive all your problems will disappear. Uglifying her with changes big and small made sense and wasn’t a Rachael Leigh Cook She’s All That scenario. The drab colorless clothes, long messy hair, slouched over posture and darting eyes all added to help see her inward feelings about herself outward. You’re made to feel for her on many standpoints and it works. But it’s seeing Carrie discover her powers and having control for the first time in her life that gives the story that much needed emotional clout.
Most of the movie was fill in the blank, paint by numbers territory. There was no noticeable story differences aside from social media used to torment and kids being more vindictive. But that’s to be expected since that’s actually happening right now. As expected the prom murder spree was pretty fun to watch. I never really tire from gory, horror violence and this delivered. The use of special effects to increase the gore was unwanted and didn’t really add anything. It just felt really cheap and softened Carrie’s thirst for revenge. But what it was missing most importantly was the deep creepiness and scary feel from the original. It just didn’t have that feeling of horror throughout the film or sadness by the end. It felt more like a regular teen drama with some revenge murder in the end. I also think Carrie killed way more in the original. But that’s not really a gripe, just an observation. If I remember correctly everyone but Sue Snell survived by the end. It didn’t feel as tense or scary when Carrie shut the gym doors, darting them a bug eyed look with that shriek accompanying them. The score to the original helped immensely with racking up the tension and foreboding terror to come. The score is basically nonexistent here; not building up to any frightful scares. More horror films should utilize a great, effective film score to frighten, scare and horrify the viewer. It makes it a more complete movie that uses everything in its arsenal to heighten your fears. Hearing Passion Pit doesn’t really give me a feeling of dread or incoming terror.
Carrie isn’t a great remake or an awful remake, more so a basically average movie that could have been better. If it’s any consolation, it’s ten times better than that dreadfully awful and pointless sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 and other unwanted remakes like The Thing. While it fails to be effectively scary it does offer up two good performances from Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz. They showed good chemistry together and kept the movie rolling along to the inevitable conclusion. While it retreads from before, it’s nevertheless a somewhat effective film on its own. And not a companion piece to the highly superior original. Any young viewers should definitely watch the original. Disregarding the original for being outdated would be a stupid move. Two and a half buckets of pigs blood out of five.