Stephen King’s iconic horror novel Carrie turns 40 years old next year. A horror staple that scared generations following its film adaptation release a couple of years later, Carrie still holds a top spot within the most iconic and successful horror films of all time and so it could only be fitting that a new generation of fans be introduced to its legacy with a revamped remake this year.
Going into this new remake, I wondered how well it could possibly do given not only the success of the original but also the failure of those that have followed. Thankfully film director Kimberley Peirce, who made her directorial debut Boys Don’t Cry back in 1999, has done the franchise justice with what is a truly memorable and suspenseful remake.
Like the original, the new film is set in Maine and follows the extremely timid and intimidated Carrie White, played by Chloë Grace Moretz (Dark Shadows, Kick Ass). When Carrie is ridiculed by her fellow classmates in the showers of her gymnasium, the schools sympathetic gym teacher (Judy Greer) punishes Carries classmate Chris (Portia Doubleday) by suspending her from school and also the upcoming prom where the self-absorbed student had hoped to be crowned Prom Queen. With revenge running thick through the veins of the scorned classmate, a plan to humiliate Carrie unfolds.
The plot thickens steadily as Carrie discovers some remarkable powers of telekinesis within her and puts these powers to use throughout the film as she gradually begins to defend herself against her bullies and her overpowering, religious and psychotic mother who is played by the incredible Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights, The Hours, Far From Heaven).
Meanwhile, fellow classmate Sue (Gabriella Wilde) becomes incredibly regretful about her participation in Carries gym shower tormenting and attempts to put things right by asking her sweet boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom instead of her but Sue and Tommy are completely unaware that instigator Chris is planning revenge unlike any other. When Chris and her rebellious older boyfriend drop a bucket of pigs blood on the unsuspecting Carrie as she stands on stage in front of her classmates after being crowned Prom Queen with Tommy, all hell literally breaks loose as the Carries powers are unleashed on a truly deadly scale with revenge being taken out on every one of her classmates and ends in a showdown with Chris and her merciless mother.
The theme of the film, like the original, is revenge and throughout the movie we are shown numerous examples of what lengths the characters in Carrie will go to in order to inflict their vengeance on others or themselves, some with deadly results.
Chloë Grace Moretz had some pretty big shoes to fill with playing the famous title character, particularly following the likes of the characters original lead, Sissy Spacek back in the 1976 version of the film. She holds her own on the remake and her portrayal of the friendless, cautious and ultimately lethal title character is enthralling.
Julianne Moore is also captivating to watch as Carrie’s religious and demented mother who relentlessly holds Carrie’s development as a woman and an individual back for fear of the outside world and forces her daughter to endure some twisted punishments for ‘sinful’ thoughts and actions which include Carrie up in a kitchen closet to pray her sins away. There are also some cringeworthy scenes of Carries mother inflicting self-harm to control her own anger against those around her.
While this latest remake of the classic 1976 hit lacks in originality it certainly captures the essence of horror and suspense that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. It may not be a new horror tale but it is a fantastic remake of a classic in the horror genre.
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