Today I am going to try a different style of review, reviewing and comparing two films, in this case the two most famous movie versions of Carrie. Let me know what you think of this idea, as I hope to do it again in the future if it works.
The plot for boths films, of course, would be the same. Carrie White lives with her insane mother who physically and psychologically abuses her daily via religious fanaticism. Because of her mother’s teachings, she has grown up different from her peers at school, and has become the butt of every joke since kindergarden. This amount of suffering would eventually send anyone to the breaking point, but Carrie is even more volatile. As she will soon discover, she has telekinesis, so when she snaps, everyone pays the price.
1976- I’m not sure if it’s just my desensitized modern teenage mind, but I did not find this “horror classic” scary in the least bit. This film is more uncomfortable and disturbing, as Carrie should be, but not scary. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were both nominated for an Oscar for their roles, but the acting was actually much better in the 2013 version. The final destruction scene at the school and at home are violent for their time, but not too thrilling. It may have been groundbreaking for its time, but from a 2014 viewpoint, the acting, the music, and the “horror” just seems cheesy.
2013- This modern edition turns up the disturbing factor, opening right off the bat with a birthing scene. The dark tone is continued throughout the film. The abuse from Carrie’s mother and classmates seems more real, helped along by the modernization (video of the shower scene is put on Youtube and is brilliantly brought back at prom). This film also does a better job of keeping Sue Snell in the central story, an important character that gets ignored in the original. The acting is superb, mostly from Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore, but also from supporting actors Ansel Elgort and Gabriella Wilde. The violence is fantastic, and the visuals in the final sequences are incredible (I rewound the car crash multiple times). The newest Carrie is a great film, and is actually startling, if not scary at times.
Overall, neither film reaches the level of the book. Stephen King uses a perspective nearly impossible in film to cover every possible angle of the story. Both films do a good job at telling the story (2013 is better at showing the character relationships), yet neither captures the terror, going for generic gore instead. Of all the films I wish I could personally be behind the scenes of, I would have loved to be screenwriter for the Chloe Moretz Carrie, if only for the final twenty minutes. If you want the more terrifying ending, read the Stephen King novel.