Writer: Casey LeeWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
While the idea of remaking Brian De Palma's seminal adaptation of Stephen King's first novel, "Carrie", would have detractors of the recent remake trend raging, the proposal of the 1978 horror classic having a more recent revision would have a more optimistic reception if it had an updated interpretation, with the right talent and crew behind it.
That's what this remake of "Carrie" had on paper. With director Kimberly Peirce at the helm, she can be expected to give a fresh and more feminine perspective on what is a challenging metaphor of womanhood. Carried by two proven leads in Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, this remake looked like it was going to have some serious blood in killing De Palma's adaptation, but what it became was a removable stain.
Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is the shunned and invisible girl in class, partly because she is raised by her fanatical and skewered Christian fundamentalist mother Margaret (Julianne Moore). When Carrie is traumatically humiliated by the mean girls led by the ruthless Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and high school queen Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) for not recognising her first period in the showers, Carrie soon begins to realise that her painful biological initiation to womanhood comes with an unexplained ability to forcefully move objects with her mind.
When Sue has the conscience to make amends for the shame she brought onto Carrie, she asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) to invite the timid Carrie as his date for prom, in hopes that it would remove the stigma on her, even if Carrie has her suspicions and fears of accepting Tommy's tempting invitation.
Instead of compelling the feminist powers from "Boys Don't Cry", Peirce walks down the way of the genre-fare director and prove to herself that she is not a master of the spectacle. Beside being an almost bit-for-bit rendition of the De Palma's classic instead of King's source material (despite what the marketing may tell you), almost nothing is being added to the table by Peirce, except for the timely inclusion of internet humiliation and smartphones.
Even without taking into account the pressures of its predecessor on its back, it doesn't hold up very well to be a horrific and bloody revenge flick, when the unimaginative sequence after pig blood has been spilled can be outdone by more recent horror outings (that were probably birthed from De Palma's benchmark), with its underwhelming effects that leads to an unsatisfactory massacre.
Moretz displays her acting prowess as her character fittingly although she emanates her charms unintentionally at times, but there is more trouble in accepting her as the troubled titular character, especially after seeing her adapting into a similarly unforgiving setting with blood other than her own a few months ago. Moore's sin lies not in her performance that does have its creeps, but only that her devoted characterisation is a little dated, to the point of being insultingly stereotypical and not as frighteningly possible as it was in the late 70s.
Outside the two leads, the pivotal supporting roles are even less inspired, except for Judy Greer's Mrs. Dujardin. Gabriella Wilde's guilt is hard to sense behind her damsel appearance and Alex Russell's turn as Billy Nolan doesn't hold a candle to the debut appearance of John Travolta.
As much as anyone would like this "Carrie" to burn in hell, to be fair Peirce's vision is merely watchable for the uninitiated, and serves as a good introduction to seek out De Palma's masterful bloodbath that would certainly outlast this cancer for another 30 years before it deserves another remake.Cinema Online, 14 November 2013