The socially oppressed finally have a true modern leader who has created a unique, distinctive voice for them to listen to and aspire to follow in the new horror remake, ‘Carrie.’ Based on the acclaimed 1976 horror thriller of the same name from director Brian De Palma and praised 1974 novel by Stephen King, director Kimberly Peirce’s new film adaptation showcases how an awkward teen girl struggling to find her identity and voice in society has finally learned to stand up for herself. The new reworking of ‘Carrie,’ which is now playing in Long Island theaters, showcases how a girl who looks like she has a charmed life really is struggling to break free from the torment that has endlessly followed her, through a gifted performance by lead star, Chloe Grace Moretz.
‘Carrie’ follows the title character, a reclusive teenage girl finishing her senior year in high school. Carrie is determined to finally live a normal life and fit in with her peers, despite the fact that she discovers she has telekinetic powers. However, her overly-religious mother Margaret White (Julianne Moore) wants her to continue to live a religious life free of sin. To continue to keep her ever-growing daughter under her control, Margaret physically and abuses Carrie, most notably by locking Carrie in a closet to pray.
The withdrawn outcast is targeted once again by her female classmates after gym class in the school showers, when she experiences her first menstrual period, which she knows nothing about. One of her classmates in particular, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), leads her friends in throwing tampons and feminine napkins at Carrie, and tapes and posts the video of the attack online. When Margaret learns of Carrie finally getting her period, and believing her changing body to be a sin, forces her into the closet.
The next day, Carrie looks up more information on her powers and practices them, in an effort to finally stand up for herself. Meanwhile, the girls’ gym teacher, Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer), informs Carrie’s classmates that they’ll be suspended if they don’t serve their punishment in class. Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), one of the popular girls that took part in teasing Carrie begins to feel remorse about her part in the prank, and tries to make it up to Carrie. Sue asks her popular boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom. She’s initially suspicious of their motives, but then accepts the invitation, only to once again be targeted at the dance by her peers.
Peirce’s casting of Moretz in the title role of the socially withdrawn and misunderstood outcast who was continuously tormented by her peers for her mother’s extremely religious beliefs and sheltered lifestyle was initially questionable and perplexing. Despite the young actress’ proven range of emotion and talent she continuously pours into her distinctively unique and diverse roles, her natural beauty is a stark contrast to the plain, underwhelmingly ordinary looks that King described Carrie as having in his first novel.
However, Moretz relatably explored and portrayed the whirlwind emotions her character experiences throughout the story, from fear and panic over her changing body and her mother’s lack of explanation of what was happening to her; to her embarrassment and shame of being targeted by Chris, Sue and the rest of their friends in the locker room; to her motivation in discovering the full potential of her newly discovered telekinetic powers, and how she could use them to her benefit when targeting her classmates and mother; and her short-lived hope and conflicting fear of finally being accepted by Tommy and his friends. ‘Carrie’s screenwriters, Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre, provided the talented actress with diverse sentiments to explore, particularly in searching for someone who finally accepts her for who she really is without judging her, to showcase how strong she has become in standing up for herself.
While Moretz effortlessly explores and exemplifies the diversely heartfelt emotions Carrie felt while contending with the emotional and physical torment her peers and mother unleashed on her, the gifted actress’ co-stars unfortunately failed to live up to her standards. Cohen and Aguirre created one-dimensional, uninspired supporting characters whose sole purpose only seemed to be to offer antagonizing dialogue to Carrie, which prompted her to finally fight back.
Carrie’s classmates, with Chris and Sue in particular, each played an important part in Carrie’s stance in defending herself, as the former pressed on to continue to embarrass and torment her ongoing target, while the later tried to make up for her part in targeting the horror drama’s protagonist. However, Doubleday just stumbled over Chris’ weak responses to Miss Desjardin’s questioning of why she feels the need to relentlessly victimize Carrie. Wilde, meanwhile, kept insisting that Sue finally saw the errors of her ways and wanted to make up the wrongs she committed against Carrie. But the actress held no strong conviction or belief that she truly wanted to pay retribution to her wronged classmate, or mend the pain she caused her.
The emotional and physical pain Carrie had to endure from both her overbearing, fanatical mother at home and her pretentious classmates at school that King so diligently infused into his novel, and that De Palma effectively translated to the screen in the original film, unfortunately wasn’t fully adapted into Peirce’s remake of 'Carrie.' Despite Moretz not physically fitting the role of the title character the way the acclaimed writer described her, the actress creatively portrayed the whirlwind emotions her character experiences throughout the story, including the shame and embarrassment of not being accepted by her mother and peers. But while Moretz effectively and emotionally infuses Carrie with the resentment of not being accepted for who she truly is, the simplistic portrayal of the film’s supporting characters, particularly the title character’s female classmates, unfortunately takes away the true resentment and hatred she feels towards them.