Horror review: Carrie



Carrie was one of the most impressive film adaptations of a Stephen King horror novel ever, right up there with The ShiningThe Dead Zone, and Misery. In director Brian De Palma’s capable hands, King’s tale of a timid teenaged outsider with telekinetic powers who uses them to strike back against the abuse of high-school bullies and a religious fanatic mom was a lean, mean, vengeance-driven machine. Its powerful story was told through a superb cast that featured Sissy Spacek in her Oscar-nominated role as the titular doomed youth (even though she was actually 27 at the time).

In a world crammed full of horror remakes, it makes you wonder why it took 36 years for this one to hit the screen. (Lets just pretend the 2002 made-for-TV version never happened.)

The new adaptation opens with the nutzoid Margaret White (Julianne Moore) giving screaming birth to Carrie alone on her bed at home. At first she believes she’s going to die, what with all the blood and pain and such, but when the baby’s born she solemnly declares that “It’s a test.”

And she’s not gonna stab it with scissors after all.

Fast-forward 17 years and Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) has grown into an awkward Grade 12er who we first see haphazardly trying to complete a volleyball serve in the school pool. The next sequence carefully recreates the original’s famous locker-room scene where Carrie, unaware of menstruation, freaks out in the shower while having her first period, and is cruelly taunted by tampon-throwing schoolmates (“Plug it up! Plug it up!”).

The only difference this time around is that a cell phone is used to document the poor girl’s trauma. And then of course it’s YouTube time.

Though far too attractive to effectively project the mousy-outcast vibe that Spacek did, the 16-year-old Moretz deserves credit for a solid performance in a challenging role. But even with her impressive acting–and the timely commentary on cyberbullying–by the time the pig’s blood has splattered (three times) and Carrie has wreaked her awkward destruction (sprinklers set off before the fire?) you’ll be convinced that the new Carrie is average at best.

And by the time they’ve replaced De Palma’s last-second cemetary jump-scare with a bogus headstone-cracking effect you’ll think below-average is closer to the truth.

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