Why Carrie (2013) is Kinda Awesome

"Thoroughly creepy and sinister"

 

So I just got back from the cinema after watching Kimberly Pierce's remake of the classic horror film from 1976, itself based on the almost legendary short story by Stephen King. First things first, for those that don't know anything about it, I implore you to both read the brilliant novel and watch the original film, as both are fantastic experiences that no horror fan should ever miss out on.

But what about this remake? Is it worth watching? In a word: yes. This version is very well made across the board, with great performances from the entire cast, spot on direction, lovely visuals, great effects and a story that stays true to both the novel and the '76 film. It gets the tension right, with the creep and dread on a slow burn, steadily building throughout the film right until the infamous prom scene, where it explodes into a riot of terror, panic and brutality.

"Grace-Moretz Kicks Ass in new ways"

Chloe Grace Moretz pulls off the awkward, nervous fragility of Carrie very well, and is a great example of her range. It's easy to sympathise and, importantly, empathise with her throughout her school and home torment, the wonder at discovering her powers and the horror as everything goes wrong. The moment when she snaps is far and away the highlight of the film, and you see all the suppressed rage and torment come to the surface in a very intense fashion – helped along by the great camera work, visuals and special effects. I'm not sure if it tops the haunting performance by Sissy Spacek back in '76, but it certainly comes close.

Julianne Moore puts in another excellent performance to go along with her recent turn in Don John, and it seems like she's well on track to make a comeback. Here, she plays the deranged and incredibly creepy Margaret White, Carrie's mother. Perhaps even moreso than Spacek, Piper Laurie's performance in '76 was a very difficult one to follow, but Moore holds her ground well. She goes for more of a subtle performance than Laurie, but it works excellently, with that sinister, disturbin

g feeling permeating every scene she is in.

"Moore's subtly sinister performance is incredibly creepy"

The rest of the cast are, at the very least, solid, with several excellent performances. Portia Doubleday, playing Chris Hargensen, the nasty stuck up popular high school chick that has it in for Carrie, is fantastic, and she throws herself into it with vigour. For me, she was the standout supporting performance, making me really despise the character (as you should!) with seemingly no effort. Special mention, as well, goes to Judy Greer as P.E. Teacher Mrs. Desjardin, Ansel Elgort as Tommy Ross and Alex Russell – in yet another telekinesis-based film, I wonder if that's going to be his thing? – as the nasty Billy Nolan.

By this point, you might be wondering why I've rated this as “Kinda Awesome”, given the praise I'm lavishing on it. For one, let me clarify that it is at the top end of that band, so in a standard rating system it would be a 7/10 for me. Second, despite being impressed by the performances, the visuals, the effects and the direction, I couldn't help but feel like something was missing when I left the cinema. Something just wasn't quite right, and it has taken me until writing this review to decide what it was: it's TOO faithful to the original. That might sound a bit daft at first glance, but whilst this nails the remake of the '76 classic, as a result it doesn't have anything truly new or unique going for it. I feel it's a shame that it stuck so close to the film, rather than delve back into the book to get a fresh take on things, something to perhaps make it stand on its own merits. The biggest example of this is the infamous final scene in the '76 film (I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it) that has been recreated (in a slightly different way) in this version; whilst it worked in the classic and was a really shocker, it felt out of place here, especially as that was not part of the original book.

"She got a -really- bad papercut"

So, all in all, I'd recommend for anyone to watch this remake, as it is a thoroughly well made and enjoyable experience, but it falls a -little- flat due to its almost slavish devotion to remaking the '76 film, rather than going for a fresh take based on the source material.

This has been Blacksmith, writing for The Awesome Update.

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