“It’s a pity it was only a remake and not a reimagining of King’s brilliant novel, and was an opportunity missed.”
by Nav Qateel
Reigning king of horror, Stephen King, has had so many of his books adapted into films I’ve honestly lost count, but, Brian De Palma’s Carrie, was among the best of them. Carrie tells the story of a young girl, Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), reaching puberty, and has a wacko mother with serious mental health issues. Margaret White (Julianne Moore) has been warped by religion, and after giving birth to Carrie, alone on her bed, she keeps the baby instead if murdering the child as she had originally planned. A humble dressmaker, Margaret raises Carrie on prayer and preaching of the “fire and brimstone” variety, and locks her daughter in a tiny walk-in to contemplate her perceived wrongdoings.
At school, Carrie is extremely naive about most things other girls take for granted, and after an embarrassing scene where she menstruates for the first time, and the other girls are very cruel to her, Carrie goes home and asks her mother why she wasn’t told. A heated argument ensues, but, when Carrie is forced into the room for the last time, she releases her telekinetic power by cracking the door with her mind. Time to open a can of whoopass.
Director Kimberly Peirce, whose 1999 film, Boys Don’t Cry, won Hilary Swank the first of her two Oscars, has done an admirable job in this adaptation of Carrie. She was the ideal choice for this remake, and has proven herself beyond question when working with strong female characters. With all but two males offering support in small roles, Peirce managed to bring the 1977 tale into the modern age well, where girls do have the same issues, but rely on the internet and app-run cellphones to dole out their cruelty to Carrie, by filming her naked on the changing room floor, covered in blood and tampons, then uploading it to YouTube.
Judy Greer (Archer) plays a sympathetic teacher, and does more harm than good to Carrie’s plight, when she punishes the girls involved in the tampon incident. The stunning Gabriella Wilde plays Sue, one of the girls involved, who is now guilt-ridden and does her best to make things up to Carrie, but, Sue’s troublemaking friend, Chris (Portia Doubleday), makes sure her help doesn’t go unpunished, with disastrous consequences to everyone. Doubleday’s performance was very convincing as the evil-minded bitch, who wants nothing more than to cause as much harm to Carrie as possible. The scene with Chris and the pig’s blood is now legendary, so, I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anyone by mentioning it, and was as powerful in this version than in De Palma’s vision.
Carrie is certainly not fault free, and there were a couple of things I would have prefered handled differently. Moritz is a tiny powerhouse of an actress who easily brought Carrie White to life, but, the impact of gaining her power was slightly lessened by, what I believe, was the script. Then the ending could have had a little more R rated violence, plus, I’d liked to have seen more blood earlier on in the film, other than just the shower incident. That said, this is a solid remake of a classic film and book, that should stand the test of time. It’s a pity it was only a remake and not a reimagining of King’s brilliant novel, and was an opportunity missed. This was no doubt everyone playing it safe with $30 million at stake.