‘Carrie’: Pointless update of a horror classic
By BILL ZWECKER Columnist October 17, 2013 2:12PM
Carrie Chloe Grace Moretz
Margaret Julianne Moore
Miss Dejardin Judy Greer
Chris Portia Doubleday
MGM and Screen Gems present a film directed by Kimberly Peirce and written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the novel by Stephen King. Running time: 99 minutes. Rated R (for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content). Opens Friday in local theaters.
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:11AM
With the 1974 publication of “Carrie,” Stephen King’s first published novel, the author was launched into one of the most successful careers in the history of popular culture publishing. Likewise, in 1976, director Brian DePalma’s first film version of “Carrie” turned relatively unknown actors and actresses — Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, John Travolta, William Katt and Betty Buckley — into budding Hollywood stars. Spacek’s performance, along with that of veteran actress Piper Laurie in the role of her mother Margaret, won both Academy Award nominations.
Unfortunately, director Kimberly Peirce’s reimagined version of the King horror tale will not likely vie for any Oscars. This “Carrie” comes off like a Lifetime film, adding little new and nothing substantial to improve on DePalma’s classic.
Peirce, acclaimed for her terrific films “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Stop-Loss,” zeroes in on what forced Carrie White into such a hellish life. To begin with, there’s Margaret, a religious zealot of a domineering mother, who harbors guilt issues involving her own sexuality. Overacting the part, four-time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore goes so far over the top that she’s truly uncomfortable to watch.
Age-appropriate Chloe Grace Moretz does a good job of capturing the essence of the fragile, damaged young woman that is Carrie White — cruelly ridiculed by her high school classmates simply for being naïve, financially underprivileged and dominated by a whack-job of a single mother. Moretz is the best thing in the movie, hitting all the right notes from her pathetically shy early scenes to the climactic finale where she lets loose with her telekinetic powers.
Judy Greer is nicely believable as the P.E. teacher who becomes Carrie’s protector from the mean girls who torment her.
Peirce and her crew did update the story by incorporating today’s world of social media and technology, and the special effects are well-done, as you’d expect for a 2013 release. Yet, in the final analysis, this “Carrie” is another example of a remake of a classic film that was definitely not needed. Go back and watch DePalma’s 1976 original, and you’ll see what I mean.