News

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

Photo: YouTube

By: George Wolf

Back in ’76, Brian De Palma brought Stephen King’s first novel, “Carrie,” to the screen and a terrifying vision of persecution and comeuppance emerged.

But that was almost 25 years before Columbine, and the image of the bullied and confused wreaking bloody revenge at a high school has taken on a different tenor.

That’s no doubt why King’s tale made its way to television in 2002 with a fresh take on the horror.

But things in high school have changed again, and the story of Carrie White takes on particular tragedy in a wired time where another innocent high school girl takes her life almost weekly due to bullying. Perhaps that’s what drew filmmaker Kimberly Pierce, whose “Boys Don’t Cry” also outlines the tragedy that befalls a young woman violently unaccepted for who she is.

In Pierce’s hands, “Carrie” offers more stripped-down drama – none of the scenery chewing of the De Palma original. There’s no humor to be found in the reboot, but realistic performances and updated context give the film enough bite to keep you watching.

Chloe Grace Moretz takes on lead duties as the youngster whose first monthly flow triggers all manner of havoc, from the most unconscionable bullying to telekenetic powers. Oh, and her mom tries to kill her. So, not the blessing those Health Ed books try to say it is.

Moretz has a big prom dress to fill, and though she has always been a reliable talent, her turn here is unconvincing. Sissy Spacek truly was that innocent, a girl so repressed by her religious mother that she had no conscious knowledge of appropriate social behavior. Moretz is a cute, shy girl the mean kids dislike. It’s not the same.

The always exquisite Julianne Moore actually has an even larger task cut out for her.

The role of Margaret White is a juicy one. Even the TV version drew the great Patricia Clarkson to the project. And Moore is characteristically strong, clearly defining role in a terrifying yet almost sympathetic way. But she’s no Piper Laurie.

Laurie brought such vitality and insanity to the role that the prom became almost secondary, and her chemistry with Spacek was eerily perfect.
The supporting cast of high schoolers is fairly unimpressive, though the ever-reliable Judy Greer adds some fresh depth to the role of Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher.

This “Carrie” is a bit more faithful to the book, and actually delivers a more violent, bloody finale than the original film, which seems to fit with the tensions of today.

The updated context casts a truly saddening shadow over the film, making a major thematic adjustment without even trying. Stephen King wrote a story about hysteria over the dawning of womanhood. But today, the story carries an even darker message. “Carrie” is a cautionary tale about sending your kids to high school.

Recent Headlines

24 mins ago in Music

Paul McCartney meets ‘Blackbird’ inspirations

Fresh
paulmccartney324810027294

Paul McCartney met two members of the "Little Rock Nine," who helped inspire the hit Beatles song.

39 mins ago in Music

Huge acts hinting at giant ‘October’

Fresh
bobdylan

Some of the biggest names in rock are adding fuel to rumors of a mega-concert.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

Jim Beam fills 14 millionth bottle of bourbon

Fresh
jimbeam807686855761

Jim Beam has filled and sealed its 14 millionth barrel of bourbon since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, achieving a first in the bourbon industry.

1 hour ago in Music

Fans thirsty for ‘Lemonade’ as Beyoncé breaks Taylor Swift’s chart record

Fresh
beyonce202549291568

Beyoncé has shattered Taylor Swifts's Billboard album chart record by landing Hot 100 places for all the tracks from her new album "Lemonade."

2 hours ago in Entertainment, Viral Videos

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ as told by emojis

Fresh
11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.