High profile remake fails to scare with poor storytelling


Carrie press image

“Carrie” falls victim to its own sensitivity and ends up not frightening audiences enough to be a good horror film.

Any classic horror movie that deserves to be remade today, it’s the horror flick “Carrie.” Since the 1976 original version premiered, bullying has become a hot button issue among Americans as has the rise of school violence in the past 15 years. However, with recent events like Newtown and Aurora hanging over the head of director Kimberly Pierce, of “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Carrie” becomes an inept exercise of trying to be sensitive while instead being simply dull.

The film begins with a scream––literally––Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a religious fanatic that makes the Westboro Baptist Church look like the Girl Scouts, gives birth to her daughter in the most graphic birth scene since “Knocked Up.” Fast forward seventeen years into the future, and Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz), now a high school senior, is a socially awkward teenager. She is relentlessly bullied by Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and her worker bees.

One day, after gym class, Carrie is humiliated in what shall be known as “the other shower scene.” The rest of the film follows Carrie as she begins to learn she has telekinetic powers, meanwhile Sue (Gabriella Wilde), Chris’s best friend, tells her boyfriend (Ansel Elgort) to ask Carrie to the prom out of guilt.

Misher Films

The film’s major fault is in its depiction of the title character. We’re supposed to sympathize with Carrie, which isn’t an issue until she becomes a mass murderer. During the iconic prom scene, the audience is supposed to feel justified in Carrie’s actions, but the majority of the prom goers don’t know about the pig’s blood prank. Also, Moretz seems confused on how to take the character––an unfortunate surprise as she’s one of the best actresses of her generation (see “Let Me In,” “Hugo” ). When Carrie’s being bullied or tormented by her mother, Moretz is solid and turning out some of the best acting of her short career. However, when the supernatural elements are introduced, Moretz’s facial expressions seem to be trying to evoke the transient state that defined Sissy Spacek’s Carrie while maintaining a look of awe and terror. She ends up looking constipated.

The film’s strength is its depiction of the relationship between Carrie and her mother. Carrie desperately wants freedom from her mother, but she still wants her mother to be there when she falls. Although Margaret is never sympathetic, the audience understands Carrie’s longing for her mother’s love and her inability to break away from her mother into the harsh world of high school.

“Carrie” isn’t a good movie, which is a shame because it’s obvious that everyone involved was trying their best. The problem lies with the story itself––it’s too cheesy and exploitative to be taken seriously today. There’s also the simple fact that it’s not scary and that’s a major problem with a film that wants to be a horror film.

“Carrie” is rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and some sexual content. 100 mins.