Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Carrie

Remakes are everywhere nowadays, and for the most part they're not just unnecessary, but also absolutely awful. The two remakes that in recent years that stand out for me were Robocop and Total Recall, both remakes of Paul Verhoven films. Both didn't live up to expectations, used an over abundance of bad CGI, had a misused cast and, well, ended up being useless. They brought nothing new to the table, weren't better than the originals and weren't even as good – they were simply useless. I'm not completely against remakes if they bring something new to the table, but sadly this is not the cast most of the time.


However, Carrie isn't a remake of the film of the same name from 1976, but rather an adaptation of Stephen King's novel from 1974. But that film was so perfectly done that, in many ways, this new adaptation was already living in its shadow even before it was released. In that regard it was a remake of Brian De Palma's masterpiece, as regardless of how good it was, it was always going to be judged against the first and best adaptation. Needless to say, I went into Carrie a little dubious. Is it a failure? Read on...


Directed by Kimberly Pierce, best know for her hard hitting 1999 drama Boys Don't Cry, and out now on DVD and Blu-Ray comes Carrie, a film that, like Brian De Palma's version, is a fantastic adaptation of King's original novel. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as shy teenager Carrie White and Julianne Moore as her incredibly conservative and religious mother, Margaret who aimed to kill Carrie after birth, but quickly changed her mind. In high school Carrie leads a very secluded life, until one day, while showering after Gym class, she has her first menstrual period. Carrie, never taught about this by her mother, believes she is bleeding to death. The ensuing panic is filmed by Chris, a girl who was a long time bully of Carrie, and uploaded to Youtube. Ridiculed and tormented, Carrie is sent home to her mother. Margaret believes that menstruation is a sin and locks Carrie in her “prayer closet”. In a fit of pure rage Carrie, without touching it, is able to crack the door and make a crucifix bleed. Now, with Carrie slowly beginning to understand that she has telekinetic powers, her highly emotional state may be devastating if her bullies try and torment her once again.

The best part of Carrie is Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. They're perfect. Moretz is great as Carrie, and wonderfully conveys both sides to her personality; the shy, awkward yet kind girl and the rage-filled, revenge seeking almost demon-like role she finds herself pushed into. I don't think it's possible for anyone to play the role of Carrie and not pull sympathy out of an audience, but I really felt for Moretz's Carrie. She's not only highly vulnerable in high school, but also in her home life with her mother. Moore plays the strict, twisted and undeniably evil role of Margaret tremendously well. Director Kimberly Pierce didn't tone down Carrie's mother in this adaptation. In fact, she's probably worse now than she's ever been portrayed. Both of these actresses are backed up by a great secondary cast and a smart, moving and honest script.


Both in terms of violence and Carrie's telekinetic powers that cause that violence, the film does not shy away. It's not a slasher film by any means, but when the shit hits the fan it hits it hard. Through these CGI heavy scenes, this film nailed what King was going for in his original novel, even more so than the 1976 film. It's not over done and remains effective and utterly shocking.

Yes, the 1976 film is better, and yes that would kind of make this version “useless”, but you know what? It doesn't. This version of Carrie can stand on its own two feet, and it does it wonderfully well. While it still stands partly in the shadow of Brian De Palma's masterpiece, this version of Carrie is not only worthy of the source material, but also a damn fine film in its own right. While it brings nothing new to the table in terms of narrative, the superb performances by its two leading stars is worth the price of admission alone.

Carrie destroys prom night with a 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Denis Murphy


Carrie at CeX



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