MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Julianne Moore as MARGARET WHITE
Chloë Grace Moretz as CARRIE WHITE
Gabriella Wilde as SUE SNELL
Portia Doubleday as CHRIS HARGENSEN
Alex Russell as BILLY NOLAN
Zoë Belkin as TINA
Ansel Elgort as TOMMY ROSS
Judy Greer as MS DESJARDIN
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
BY KEVIN CARR
I considered one of the most disappointing things to happen to horror movies was the failure of Kimberly Peirce’s “Carrie” remake. That’s not a dig at the movie. Far from it. I actually enjoyed the heck out of this new “Carrie” and thought Peirce’s updates to the classic story were intelligent and well constructed.
What disappointed me was how it was received. There was a great schism among those who see horror movies when it came to “Carrie.” The older generation, many who had seen Brian DePalma’s original version in theaters, didn’t even bother. With the near-constant backlash against remakes, some just don’t catch on. The idea of remaking a classic is offensive to some and, in their defense, is not always a good idea.
However, there are some excellent remakes out there, including this film and others, like “Evil Dead” and even the “Friday the 13th” reboot from 2009. However, this modern “Carrie” suffered from what plagues some films with the younger generation… they just didn’t find it particularly scary. It reminded me of the reaction the college crowd gave when I saw “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” a few years ago, which was another quality horror flick that no one seemed to really appreciate.
As I left the theater in October, I heard the crowd of teens and twentysomethings remarking how it wasn’t a scary movie at all. Ergo, they thought it was stupid. This is the generation that has grown to accept as a way of life school shootings, suicide following cyberbullying and self-imposed lack of privacy with everything from Facebook to SnapChat.
While Peirce made the best version of “Carrie” that she could have made, she ended up making one that really had no audience. The younger generation mind-bogglingly flocks to found footage horror movies because it’s apparently more real (which it isn’t, by a long shot). The older generation has an axe to grind with remakes and didn’t really give this film a chance.
Getting the opportunity to revisit it on Blu-ray galvanized my opinion that the modern “Carrie” isn’t just a quality flick, but it’s also really damn scary… if you’re a parent.
Peirce takes the original story that Stephen King expertly crafted 40 years ago and gives it a modern spin. The horror isn’t for the teenagers because there’s no lack of peer slayings in the media or in movies, so the mere presence of this act isn’t that shocking. Instead, the real horror is for a parent to watch.
Peirce is no stranger to tackling bullies on screen, as she did in her strong debut film “Boys Don’t Cry.” She shows things from Carrie’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) point of view rather than how DePalma did it, in which we watched Carrie from a distance. We see the pain that Carrie goes through, and we see the neglect. We also see the unfortunate circumstances when bad behavior can’t be prevented, and often cannot be pinned down for punishment.
More over, we see the violent reactions that can occur when a troubled teen is pushed to the limit. And the aftermath of this is as real as anything we’ve seen on screen before. Just ask the students and teachers at Columbine High School in the 1990s.
The biggest change to this film is the more in-depth characterization of Martha White (Julianne Moore). Rather than portraying her as a caricature as Piper Laurie did in DePalma’s version, Moore gives her a humanity beneath the crazy. No villain is a villain in his or her mind, and Moore’s Martha White acts with a determination that is sane to her, but terrifying to others.
If you missed “Carrie” in the theaters (and, let’s face it, most of you did), give it a shot on Blu-ray. It’s definitely worth it.
The Blu-ray also comes with a DVD and UltraViolet streaming capabilities. The special features are decent, including an alternate ending, additional deleted and alternate scenes, the featurettes “Creating Carrie” and “The Power of Telekinesis” as well as a coffee shop prank and commentary by Peirce.