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DVD review: 'Carrie' (2013)

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'Carrie' (2013)

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'Carrie' is one of Stephen King's most celebrated books/stories. Part of that can be attributed to the 1976 Brian De Palma movie which most people can agree was perfectly fine the way it was.

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That was thirty eight years ago, though, and too many viewers are unwilling to look that far back in time for a fright.

Let's explore the remake.

Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is an outcast in high school who lives with her overbearing, fanatically religious, self-harming mother Margaret (Julianne Moore). After an embarrassing incident in the showers, Carrie is mocked even more than before after it is filmed. This video gets back to gym teacher, Miss. Desjardin (Judy Greer) who bans main perpetrator Chris (Portia Doubleday) from prom. She decides to get some revenge against Carrie who is pushed into going to prom with popular boy Tommy (Ansel Elgort).

This sets an elaborate and cruel prank into motion that will end badly for everyone.

Oh yeah, all the while, Carrie discovers that she has telekinetic powers and further refines them very quickly.

In all of its incarnations (there was an ill-advised sequel and another remake before this), this is a slow-building story that deliberately establishes characters and the big climactic occurrence. Because of the pacing, it has a decidedly less 'horror' feel to it, partially because the suspense is gone due to the fact that the story is basically in the American lexicon. It feels more like a tragic story about a mutant discovering her powers while a few bullies target her.

All of the major points from the first movie are hit practically shot-for-shot. There are modern concessions like social media and smart phones, but the plot is exactly the same. Expect some foreshadowing and a version of Carrie who is slightly more expressive and comfortable exploring her telekinetic powers, but that doesn't really add much to the overall story. The advanced special effects are put to some extreme use in an amped up climax that might exceed your expectations in terms of violence and creative deaths, but that's it.

Moretz is adequate in the titular role. She seems a little too attractive and well-adjusted to be a plausible outcast, though. Moore has the meatiest role, playing a genuinely disturbed character. Her self-mutilation is slightly unsettling and she has more screen time than Piper Laurie did in the first film.

Special features include: a featurette on making the film, the viral coffee shop video that was meant to promote the film, and a trailer.

'Carrie' is an entirely unnecessary remake that adds nothing of value to the well-worn story. Maybe younger viewers who are unfamiliar with the original film or the book might get a little enjoyment, but everyone else knows exactly what happens.

Rated R 99 minutes 2014

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