Movie Review: Carrie – Iconic or Clichéd?

Theatrical Poster

Genre: Horror, Drama

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Running Time: 100 Minutes

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

The Plot

A deeply devout young woman, Carrie White, is bullied at her high school after an embarrassing incident involving her menzies and ignorance of menstrual cycles. In a moment of pure terror and humiliation, Carrie seems to affect her environment telekinetically. Her overly protective, psychologically derange, abusive mother believes that there has always been something evil about Carrie. After much bullying from her classmates, Carrie has her revenge at the prom when one of the girls pushes the joke too far.

Pray for forgiveness

Performances & Special Effects 

If there is one thing we all know, is that if Carrie is the movie, there will be pig blood. Lots of pig blood. This retelling of the tale did not disappoint. The special effects were superb! Carrie becomes a one woman wrecking crew when she is eventually pushed to her limit. The fire and general pyrotechnics added a sense of gravitas to the final scenes of the film. Whether is was a knife falling to the floor without assistance or Carrie lifting a car with her mind, the execution of these effects was fluid and seamless. The most important factor here was the stellar performance give by Chloë Moretz. This phenomenal young star has been on the rise for a number of years and keeps outdoing herself each time. Her emotive eyes and use of her body in her acting means that you are presented with a fully realised character. The intensity she emits in the high school auditorium gave me goosebumps.

Chloe Moretz - Carrie

Julianne Moore is sensational as the bible-thumping, psychologically and physically abusive, unstable mother. The truly sinister psychology of the character was so perfectly captured that at times I forgot that I was watching Moore. Her dogmatic, superstitious ignorance is cringe worthy at times. She believes that she is making the best choices for her daughter, and herself, and cannot possibly see the damage she is doing and, ultimately her role in Carrie’s downfall.

I was particularly impressed by Judy Greer‘s performance as Ms Desjardin. I’m used to seeing her as the awkward, less hot friend to the protagonist in silly romcoms or series, thus I was suitably impressed by her offering in this film. The character was strong and often the voice of reason. I was less impressed with the supporting cast, such as: Gabriella Wilde and Portia Doubleday. It felt like they were a little out of their league here. At times it felt like they were acting too hard.

Julianne Moore - Carrie

The Review

Other than The Shining and It, Carrie is possibly one of the most iconic big screen adaptations of a Stephen King novel (not including short stories and novellas). Dreamcatcher was a colossal disappointment; Tommyknockers, one of the best adaptions, was for the small screen and The Green Mile became just another Tom Hanks film.

And, no, I did not include Pet Sematary as it’s more of a cult classic rather than, iconic in the mainstream (much like the Crow). The problem with a sequel or a remake, is that it often rides the coattails of its more successful predecessor. Having said that I will not be reviewing this film under the aegis of “remake” and will not be comparing it to the 1976 rendition of the film, unlike my Evil Dead review, as I had read an article where Peirce said that this was more her interpretation of the book, rather than a remake of the De Palma film.

Cleansing by fire

I enjoyed this film so much that I watched it twice. Creative direction brought this ’70s tale in the 21st century. The introduction of smartphones and other technology modernised the bullying extremely well. The pace was perfect and there were even a few scenes that caught me off guard and surprised me. Instead of feeling like a boring rehashing of the same story, I found myself drawn to the film and eagerly anticipating what was to come. By introducing the concept of cyber-bullying, the film was made relevant and accessible to an entirely new generation of young adults. It didn’t feel preachy or over the top in its message. Rather, it was simply a supernatural representation of what has happened in may american schools in recent years. Every person has a breaking point, some can take more than others but at the end of the day, we are only human. I liked that at times, the movie felt a bit like a superhero story, not dissimilar to how Clarke Kent first discovers his powers and pushes them to their limits. This added dimension had me on Carrie’s side more than I ever was reading the book!

My Rating: 3½/5

Buy or rent Carrie from Amazon.

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