If there’s anything I can say about the remake of “Carrie” is that it’s at least better than the 2002 version. It’s more focused and sleeker. I remember reading on many articles that director Kimberly Pierce was planning to deliver a new and dynamic version of Stephen King’s “Carrie” that differed greatly from Brian DePalma’s iconic horror masterpiece. I’d love to know what happened during the entire development of this film because watching it, all I saw were callbacks to the original DePalma movie. Surely, there’s the addition of the internet and a small riff on cyber bullying but it’s really just a riff on DePalma’s film.
And it’s a damn shame, since “Carrie” had the opportunity to touch on the entire news storm of suicides, and teen bullying and online harassment. There’s an added scene where Sue Snell sets up a fake Facebook profile for Carrie to embarrass her, while Carrie’s revelation of her first period becomes a viral video. But beyond that there isn’t a lot of commentary on the entire issue. If you saw DePalma’s film, you’ve seen this, but basically Carrie White is a young high school girl tortured by her classmates. After an incident in a girl’s locker room, Carrie begins exploring her blossoming powers of telekinesis, while popular student Sue Snell decides to help Carrie celebrate her prom. Meanwhile the alpha female of the school Chris and her boyfriend Billy are planning a prank on her that inevitably goes disastrous to catastrophic. Director Pierce is much too concerned with mimicking DePalma and getting to the centerpiece of the story to really focus on anything else.
Everything in the story wants to dive right in to the pig’s blood scene that everything before it is made to feel irrelevant or just a clothesline for the massacre. Even Julianne Moore who had the opportunity to really blow people away with her variation on Carrie’s mother is wasted. She only has a small role in the film, and much of it feels as if she was merely told to watch Piper Laurie’s powerful portrayal and just build on that. “Carrie” isn’t an awful film, it’s just so utterly mediocre and forgettable. Nothing remarkable or unique ever really rises from the narrative. There’s nothing that stands out or feels remotely like Pierce is attempting to re-invent the wheel. It’s all just a series of scenes taking from DePalma’s playbook, and going through the motions. There’s no real bravery or boldness to the new story elements, and everything feels so restrained.
Even Chloe Moretz, who had a chance to provide a stunning take on Carrie White, really doesn’t get the chance to offer a stunning depiction. There’s really no new insight given in to Carrie’s own persona. There’s no new angle here. In the original film, Carrie was unrealized evil finally awakened in the blood drenched finale. In this version, Carrie seems to not only know what she’s doing once she wreaks havoc on prom goers but the morality behind it is fuzzy. Is Carrie pure evil or just a tragic heroine? Is she embracing her evil or is she merely doling out punishment? Should we still root for her after she’s consciously massacred an entire assembly of students celebrating their prom? It’s never quite clarified for us, thus most of Carrie’s entire personality is hazy and just sloppily explored. I had very high hopes for “Carrie” to really provide a bold new take on King’s tale. Instead it’s just a run of the mill and forgettable remake that fails to offer anything new or exciting.