January 14, 2014 Carrie (Movie review)
In 1976 Brian De Palma directed the thrilling film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Carrie. The 70’s classic terrified parents and teenagers alike while helping launch the movie careers of actors Sissy Spacek and John Travolta. Oddly 23 years later a sequel to the film entitled The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) was released with different characters. In 2002 a made for television version of the film was released directed by David Carson. With two other directors attempting to replica this story, director Kimberly Peirce (Boy’s Don’t Cry 1999) brings us her 2013 adaptation. Starring versatile veteran actress Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights 1997, Crazy Stupid Love 2011, Chloe 2009) as Carrie’s abusive and religious zealot of a mother, Margaret White, young up and coming actress Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass 1 & 2, Dark Shadows 2012, Hugo 2011) as the troubled Carrie White, new actress Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers 2011 as Sue Snell, Portia Doubleday as troublemaker Chris Hargensen, and Judy Greer (Two and a Half Men) as Carrie’s Gym teacher and only source of comfort, Miss Rita Desjardin.
The film is shot from an outside observational viewpoint, beginning just as Carrie is being born to a extremely religious woman who believes she is a cancer sent to punish and kill her. After a change of heart upon seeing her daughter, Margaret White decides to raise her on her own. It then jumps forward several years and late bloomer Carrie is now a social high school outcast, ostracized by her fellow classmates. Matters are not assisted by the popular students Sue and Chris during the infamous shower scene when Carrie reaches puberty at an inconvenient and awkward time. This incident exacerbated by modern technology, sets off a series of unstoppable catastrophic events. After Miss Desjardin is horrified and appalled upon finding out about the incident and the other girls’ treatment of Carrie, she punishes the girls. Most of them tow the line, except for Chris who despises Carrie. Her vapid hatred drives her despicable actions throughout the movie, despite the fact that at times you nearly see her question her actions, and drives a wedge between her and rueful best friend. Chris’ reluctance to accept her horrible behavior results in her being suspended from school and the impending all important High School Senior Prom and she begins the path to her own revenge.
With Chris’ suspension comes some relief for Carrie, at least at school, and some empathy from Sue with the rest of the school busily getting for the prom in a few days. Sue, for reasons later revealed, requests her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), take Carrie to the prom instead of her.
At a time in her life when it should be filled with wonder and awe, Carrie’s life is filled with godly hatred from her mother and her feelings of inadequacy and social ineptitude until she discovers she has incredible telekinetic powers growing along each day with her emotions. Carrie starts researching; studying and practicing her new talents, quickly realizing she has as much control over those as she does her mother and outside sources. Carrie reluctantly, under much coaxing by Miss Desjardin, agrees to accompany Tommy to the prom; even making her dress herself and falling into the excitement.
The anticipation and build up to prom, Margaret’s growing insanity, Chris’s revenge, and Carrie’s building powers keeps the plot moving easily throughout the movie.
By the time you get to the prom you find yourself rooting for Carrie. Hoping it all works out for her while simultaneously hating Chris and her boyfriend, you pray the prank doesn’t work while questioning Sue and Tommy’s motives. Carrie’s vengeance for all who wronged her is truly epic and won’t readily be forgotten.
Bullies will regret their previous torments and the tormented will find new hope. Questions relating to Carrie’s father are answered, but there are still plenty of surprises. Is Margaret really insane or dead-on in her ranting? Why did Sue have a change of heart?
For fans of the original Carrie (1976), while the main events won’t hold any surprises for you, there are still plenty of extra parts provided by Peirce you would not have seen, and the actors involved play the characters extraordinarily well. The tension and building action will hold new and old fans attention right to the end. If you are also a fan of the book you will be pleased by the adaptation.
“She did not know if her gift had come from the lord of light or of darkness, and now, finally finding that she did not care which, she was overcome with an almost indescribable relief, as if a huge weight, long carried, had slipped from her shoulders.”
― Stephen King, Carrie
If you have yet to see Carrie (2013) you are in for an explosive ride. A must watch for horror fans everywhere. CrypticRock give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.
Review written by R.L. Andrews
Carrie is out on Blu-ray & DVD January 14th 2014