Saturday, October 3, 2015

Carrie (2013)

I don't think that remakes per se should be shunned.  Nobody sighs and says things like, "Romeo and Juliet again???", so it seems unnecessary to hate every horror movie that has the same name as an old favorite.  Good, rich stories can lead to different, equally valid outcomes in the right hands.  But it's acceptable and wise to hate bad horror movies a lot.  I didn't hear raves or groans about this version of Carrie, but some things seem promising right at the start: it's directed by a woman (Kimberly Peirce), which could make a difference in this kind of story, and it opens with Julianne Moore about to scissor a baby.

The baby grows up to be Carrie White, who doofs her way through gym class (key line here: "Don't be afraid of the ball, ladies"—"ball" reflecting both secret boy parts and the blood-dance to come—this Carrie flashes its artistic credentials right at the start).  The story doesn't really deviate a lot from the DePalma version: we get first-period Carrie freaking out in the shower and being pelted with tampons.  This iteration does seem to feature a lot more telekinesis, a lot earlier, and less subtly.  So.

Chloe Moretz is kind of miscast in the titular role.  She lacks the physical frailty of Sissy Spacek and so there's a lot more twitching and shuddering away from social interaction to make up for it.  But it kind of doesn't work and that handicaps this Carrie right from the start.  Another issue is that the characters have depths, except for main villain Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday).  It seems like they were shooting for her being a terrible person on a whim and not understanding why people got mad about it.  But the script just didn't seal the deal.  On the positive tip, I really liked this film's portrayal of Carrie's mom.  She's still clearly an abusive loon, but the movie gives her chances to demonstrate her love for her daughter, even though it's wrapped up in fear and badly-understood Christianity.  IDK if the script or Moore deserve credit for this, but I'm glad it happened.

The first half of the film is a little more compelling than the inevitable finale.  By the time we get to the prom, Carrie is a vehicle for wuxia stunts and exploding cars, and we lose the enjoyable character stuff from earlier.  These scenes, like the rest of the film, are shot well and framed in interesting ways, but the script tank is nearly empty at this point.  

Overall: yeah, unneeded, but there are worse ways to kill some time.  


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