So, it's Halloween this week. It is literally my favourite... festival? Season? Time of the year. Thankfully Netflix has a lot of horror films, so my review of Jack Reacher that I promised will have to wait for a couple weeks as I'm getting right in the horror spirit.
First up is Carrie. The 2013 remake, not the one from 1976. This is a difficult review to write because if anyone knows anything about Carrie, it's how the film ends. So am I including spoilers? Well, yes, I suppose if you know absolutely nothing about the story then I am going to be talking about the ending and you may not want to proceed.
First up the plot. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the titular character Carrie White. She is the schools social outcast, and her life is controlled completely by her fundamentalist Christian mother Margaret (Julianne Moore). Whilst it would appear that the whole school bullies Carrie, it mostly comes from a group led by Chris and Sue. Sue feels bad for her role in bullying Carrie so convinces her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to prom. Chris is annoyed at being punished for bullying Carrie so decides to play a trick on her, which results in Carrie using her telekinetic powers to destroy the school and kill many students.
I was sceptical at the casting of Moretz, because she is very pretty and if she was at my school she would have definitely been in the 'cool' group. She does an absolutely fantastic job at playing the awkward kid who doesn't know her place in the world. If you've read my review of Driving Lessons, you'll know that I wished there was a bit more character development in terms of the main character becoming more confident. Carrie doesn't have this issue; she stands up straighter, looks people in the eye and talks back to some – including her mother. I really felt myself rooting for her and even though I knew where the film was going, I didn't want it to result in her being humiliated and destroying the school.
Some of the other casting decisions were great, Julianne Moore is terrifying as the mother and Judy Greer is also great as the sympathetic gym teacher. I loved the relationship between Margaret and Carrie. The mother is obviously thinking that she is protecting her daughter and there are moments – or looks – where both characters acknowledge that the disturbing situation they are in has only occurred because they (deep down) love each other.
However, most of the other characters are pretty terrible. Chris seemed to me to be very unrealistic and exaggerated and Sue fell flat. Tommy did a fairly decent job, but many of his scenes were incredibly cheesy and he probably only seemed passable compared to the other younger actors.
The special effects in this film were a lot better than I was expecting. Sometimes I felt a real prop held up by string would have looked better, but for the most part it was alright. One slight issue I had was when Carrie is discovering and trying out her newly found powers, it felt kind of like an X-Men film. In the book and first film, she has had these powers all her life and they are getting stronger, in this version it is made so obvious that she is making the lightbulb smash, rather than just that something weird is going on.
The 'modernisation' of the film will have helped it reach a younger audience. Carrie watches telekinesis videos on the internet and her bullies film her torment on their mobiles and upload it to YouTube. Apart from that though, there isn't much included in this film that changes it from the original.
Overall, I'm going to give Carrie a six. There were many good aspects to the film, such as character development and some of the acting, however a lot of the acting was poor and I'm still unsure as to why it was decided a remake was necessary.
Next up: If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of THE BABADOOK.