Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
OK, we have a confession to make — a dirty little secret, actually — we never saw (except for in clips on TV) the original Carrie, so while watching this new version, we really have no solid point of reference to which we can compare (Save of course for the infamous shower scene, which in the original featured a copious amount of full-frontal female nudity, but in the current version well, doesn’t. Apparently it is no longer acceptable to show (supposedly) underage high school girls in the buff. At any rate, I think that both Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore make fine substitutes/updates for Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. According to reports, this story is not so much a remake of the 1976 film, as an adaptation of the original novel by Stephen King.
That said, this is the story in this film is about a young outcast high school girl who discovers that she has telekinetic powers, unfortunately, they young teen, Carrie (Moretz) has an extremely religiously zealot mom (Moore) who sees the telekinesis as a sign that her daughter is possessed by the devil. In fact, Carrie’s mom is so fundamentally repressed that she believes that any form of sex is sinful (apparently Carrie’s conception was the result of marital rape). So when Carries has her first period (while in the shower at high school), she has no idea of what is going on, and believes herself to be dying. All of the other girls in the locker room are repulsed by Carrie who runs to them for help, crying, and begin to taunt her and pelt her with tampons and sanitary napkins.
When she finally gets home, her mother blames Carrie for having her period and claims that it is because Carrie has been having sexual thoughts, and then locks her daughter in a closet under the staircase demanding that she pray for forgiveness. Hours later Carrie is released from her prison, and is allowed to return to school the next day. the Gym teacher, Ms. Desjardin (Greer) realizing that a terrible bullying incident has taken place, subjects the other girls in her class to extra workouts, only Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) (who not only lead the taunting against Carrie, but recorded it and put the clip up online) refuses to participate in the punishment and is suspended, thus losing her Prom privileges.
Angered by that Chris plots her revenge, while Sue Snell (Wilde) — who also participated, but now regrets her actions — convinces her boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to the prom. At first Carrie believes it to be a trick, but then relents and allows Tommy to take her (over the objections of her mother). At prom, Tommy and Carrie are elected king and queen (through a ballot stuffing trick), and when they step up to the stage, Chris dumps a bucket of pig’s blood on Carrie, which sends her over the edge, causing her to use her telekinesis to destroy the school and most of the town.
Moretz does an excellent job playing Carrie, exhibiting the proper amount of vulnerability, shyness, and inner strength and resolve (although after seeing her beat the crap out of thugs in two Kick-Ass films, it is almost hard to watch her be that submissive. Meanwhile Julianne Moore (who is still pretty hot looking, check out Don Jon) is made to look old, harried, haggered and (truth to tell) rather frightening, and turns in her usual outstanding performance. So, our recommendation is that you forget the original, and go check out this very well-made, modern-day version.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.