Remaking classic films always poses one outstanding question. Why remake a classic? What’s the point? Well, I’m not so sure that I can answer that question. However, it is always interesting to see how scripts are adapted for modern settings. Everyone will be looking for changes which can prove to be beneficial or harmful to the film. People will go out of their way to compare the remake to the original, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t mean that the remake isn’t any good.
Carrie White (Chloe Grace-Moretz) is a high school freshman girl in the year 2013. She lives a reclusive life with her hyper-religious mother, Margaret (Julianne Moore), who is often spouting of religious text and praying to God. Carrie is a social outcast who has been sheltered her whole life. One day at school, Carrie becomes a woman in a traumatic and bloody event that she perceives as something that is killing her. As she begs the other girls for help in the locker-room, they insult her, throw tampons at her and even record her crying. Worse than anything, though, is Margaret’s reaction to Carrie’s event. As Eve became a woman, she was led to sin. Now that Carrie is a woman, Margaret believes that her daughter will sin and the only solution is to lock her in a closet where she can pray. It’s now, that Carrie learns that she has telekinesis and can levitate objects at her will.
Whereas popular girl Chris (Portia Doubleday) feels no remorse for her actions, her friend Sue (Gabriella Wilde) feels as if she needs to make it up to Carrie. With the interjection of P.E. Teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer), it’s ruled that Chris will be suspended and unable to go to Prom and the other girls will. As Chris formulates a plot to ruin prom, Sue ultimately decides to give up her dream prom and have her stud of a boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) ask Carrie to the dance. While all these events happen on the outside, Carrie is stuck on the inside exploring her new-found powers and learning to fend for herself. In the end, all roads lead to the unforgettable night that is prom…
The 1976 Carrie (otherwise known as the original) is regarded as a horror classic and one of the better adaptations of all the Stephen King novels. I’ve not read the novel, but I’m very familiar with the story and it’s one that I really enjoy for a few reasons. More than anything, I think it’s a great example of just how cruel teenagers can be and the detrimental effects that they can have on others. The character of Margaret is equally fascinating and terrifying, as her influence over Carrie represents the fanatic lengths that some people will go to because of what they believe. I also love seeing Carrie happy, for those few brief moments, because I can’t help but think of her as this young girl who is searching for acceptance from others as she struggles with her crazy mother.
Since this remake is set in present day, some of the film has diverted from the original source material. This time around, we have cell phones and computers that are used to exploit Carrie’s moment of struggle for the world to see. High School is only rougher this time, as bullying has ramped up all over the country in the last few years. While we may be seeing an extreme of what high school life can be like, the film is a great social commentary on picking on someone to the point of their break. As far as these changes go, I think that they worked very well in the story and they weren’t overused. They played a hand in advancing the story and were handled with care. I get that some people are averse to changing the material, but I, for one, thought it was a great move by director Kimberly Peirce.
As far as casting is concerned, I thought that this film had some really great characters. We’ve seen Moretz kick ass (literally), so it was nice to see her more vulnerable and doing something new. Julianne Moore scared me quite a bit and really became her character. The contrasting characters of Sue and Chris exemplified the girls on both ends of the “clique” spectrum. You have the bossy girl who needs things to go her way and whom sees nothing wrong with her actions, and then you have the more reserved friend who knows what she’s doing is wrong and wants to change. Judy Greer made me laugh as the P.E. Teacher and Ansel Elgort was a great Tommy. His interactions with Moretz seemed genuine and the two had amazing onscreen chemistry.
Where this film falters, is with its outside supporting cast and the progression of the story. The film often jumps around from person to person and the focus of Carrie is lost more than a few times. There are also many stupid characters in the film who take their actions to the extreme and ultimately serve no purpose in the film. Lastly, there’s also the fact that there isn’t really a reason for this film to exist, as the original Carrie is very good and most everybody knows the story of Carrie, whether or not they’ve seen the film.
Although this new incarnation of Carrie doesn’t bring too much to the table, it does a great job with the source material and gives the younger generations the chance to see what’s regarded as a “horror” classic. Personally, I never though of Carrie as a horror movie because it is more of a look at this lonely girl who just wants to be accepted and is pushed too far. Regardless of that fact, I love the story and I think that both films speak to audiences on many different levels. I found myself enjoying this remake more than most and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good time at the movies. Just remember, be kind to all, for you don’t know their story and what they’re capable of.