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'Carrie' remake underwhelming in the shadow of De Palma's original

DVD cover art for 'Carrie.'
DVD cover art for 'Carrie.'
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

'Carrie' DVD


Unlike many people, I have no problems with remakes of classic films. Who's to say that someone else's take on a character or universe wouldn't offer something new to the cinematic world? I actually enjoyed the "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Friday the 13th," and "Fright Night" reboots. The upcoming "Robocop" looks to be entertaining as well.

I especially don't mind alternate versions of movies when they were originally based on a novel. Many times, one screenwriter or director's interpretations of a book can be vastly different from another's. Just look at the difference between the two "Total Recall," "The Shining," and "Salem's Lot" movies and mini-series. Many have said one follows the author's writings much better than the other. Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean we get a better movie just because it's more faithful. That's the case with Director Kimberly Peirce's vision of "Carrie."

Carrie's (Chloe Grace Moretz) life can only be described as miserable and lonely. An outcast in school, she finds no solace at home. Her overbearing mother (Julianne Moore) is a misled and overzealous religious nut that constantly condemns Carrie and everyone around her for the sins they have and will commit. When the young girl finds she possesses telekinetic powers, it opens up a whole new world to her. It won't be long before both her psychotic mother and bullying classmates will regret everything they've ever said and done to Carrie.

Several things are wrong with "Carrie." First off, it's very hard to buy Chloe Grace Moretz as a "Plain Jane" girl who is the blight of the school and the outcast everyone picks on. She's too cute to be playing this kind of character. That's not to say she didn't do her best in the role. I just think she was miscast.

Secondly, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was watching a made-for-TV movie through much of "Carrie." The camerawork and overall look reminded me of something I'd see on Lifetime. It's passible, but doesn't give the movie the cinematic feel it should have.

2013's "Carrie" does take viewers in a couple different directions that weren't explored in Brian De Palma's version of the story. However, that doesn't necessarily translate into being a good thing. Moretz's portrayal of Carrie doesn't leave the audience with the sense of empathy Sissy Spacek's did in the first adaptation of Stephen King's bestseller.

The title character's telekinetic powers are much more fantastical in the new "Carrie." Instead of just being able to move things with her mind, she can also stop cars in their tracks, fly, and cause the ground to split open. Whether more accurate to the book or not, these powers feel like a bit much and don't hold up well on film.

Finally, some of the special effects and CGI were less than spectacular. My biggest complaint is that the explosions suffered from looking a bit too artificial. More time in the image editing process could have cleaned these issues up.

The real diamond in the rough when it comes to "Carrie" is Julianne Moore. Her portrayal of Margaret White is absolutely wonderful and disturbing. She perfectly captures the desperation and lunacy the character bounces through with complete sincerity.

"Carrie" is rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and some sexual content. It's definitely gory enough for a restricted rating. There's one scene where two teens are having sex that was unnecessary. They didn't show any nudity, but it was still too much. If it weren't for that scene, this could easily have been rated PG-13.

I really respected the way Bible-based Christianity isn't thrown under the bus in 2013's "Carrie." As the mother is spouting off religious banter, Carrie points out that what the mother is reciting isn't even found in the Bible. This gives viewers a clearer picture that Margaret isn't practicing traditional living through scripture. Her beliefs are more cult-like and not limited to true Biblical teachings.

The DVD edition of "Carrie" contains a few special features. They include a making-of featurette entitled "Bringing Back Carrie." A featurette entitled "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise" and a theatrical trailer are found as well.

2013's "Carrie" isn't going to please people who loved Brian De Palma's version. It might be more accurate to Stephen King's written word, but it lacks the tension and emotion of the 1976 film. However, it will appeal to those who never saw the first screen adaptation of the book and teenagers will find it easy to relate to. It's safe to say they'll definitely think twice before bullying someone in the future after watching this.

"Carrie" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and as a Digital Download.

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