SYNOPSIS: The third adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Maine high school outcast Carrie White, a lonely girl teased by classmates and abused by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore). Despite the best efforts of gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) to help Carrie fit in, a clique of mean girls led by Chris (Portia Doubleday) make it their mission to ensure that Carrie has a rough time at school. After being humiliated at her senior prom—pig’s blood will really ruin a taffeta dress apparently—she unleashes a terrible telekinetic vengeance on those who wronged her.
Richard: 2 ½ Stars
Mark: 2 Stars
Richard: Mark, people have been asking me about this movie for months. But they haven’t been asking, ‘Is it good?’ They’ve been asking me why anyone would remake the 1976 classic. After seeing it, I’m not sure. The new version is a perfectly serviceable adaptation of Stephen King’s famous book but it doesn’t have the vulnerability or frailty that made Sissy Spacek so memorable in the title role. First off, what did you think of Chloë Grace Moretz?
Mark: Richard, she’s the strongest thing in the movie. Although no one can compare to Sissy Spacek, she did an admirable job. The question isn’t whether this is a good film; it’s whether this is a necessary film. When I heard Kimberly Pierce would be directing this remake, I hoped she would bring some kind of post-feminist twist to it. But no, she didn’t direct the remake; she just colored within the lines.
RC: Agreed, but there are some good moments within those lines. There is a sweetness to Carrie, particularly in the prom scenes (pre pig’s blood) that makes the anticipation of what is to come all the more tense and I liked Julianne Moore’s head thumping self-punishment scenes. It works in those moments, but there’s too much CGI—the floating books are silly—and since when can Carrie fly?
MB: She can now! It’s just another example how everything in the movie is less subtle than in the DePalma version. The themes of religious and sexual repression-so shocking in 1976-seem overcooked now. But let’s pretend we know nothing of the original. Does the movie work? Sure, to an extent. The performances are good, the last third is exciting and full of blood and revenge, but it still feels a bit superficial and detached. None of my fingernails were harmed in the viewing of this production.
RC: Mine either, although a mother and daughter knife battle made me shift to the front of my seat mostly because it felt more organic and less computer generated than some of the other displays of Carrie’s mad telekinetic skillz. It felt dangerous in a way that the rest of the violence didn’t.
MB: And Julianne Moore does crazy very well, doesn’t she? Still, the script gave her some passages so clunky that even real-life maniac mamas would have demanded another draft