Movies based on the works of Stephen King range from south of terrible to genuine milestones of cinema history. Sadly, this derivative remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror classic falls into the former category. Still, Carrie is likely to find its place as a cult favourite, just as many of King’s less-than-stellar adaptations have. Its violence is brutal and bloody, and the story is one that’s revered.
Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a timid girl in her final year of high school. While having a shower after a gym class she has her period – this is unusual since it’s her very first. Carrie thinks she’s bleeding to death so is made a mockery of by her classmates. The ringleader of these students is Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), one of the most overacted, obnoxious and self-centred spiff whiffs on film.
Chris rightly gets suspended due to her antics and is thus doomed to miss out on every girl’s dream: prom night. Determined to get revenge, she concocts a plan to embarrass Carrie in front of all her peers. Little does she know however that Carrie possesses dangerous telekinetic powers that aren’t always under her best control. Oh, and Carrie’s mum Margaret (Julianne Moore) is an unbalanced and fanatically religious woman who would feel right at home in Arkham Asylum.
The problem with Carrie is that director Kimberly Peirce (Stop-Loss) visualises the story with some of the worst and most extreme of high school clichés – it’s certainly an unrealistic portrait that makes it harder to buy into the potential strength of the story’s human element in Carrie’s vulnerability. The horror component is also presented without subtlety.
Everything builds towards the prom night but there’s no tension. There’s a sense that most of the picture is merely ticking away the minutes until the bloody bucket falls and all hell breaks loose. It’s cheap filmmaking although not without its thrills, but it’s also insincere and pales against the superior craftsmanship of something like this year’s The Conjuring (which despite its flaws was an extremely well put together piece of filmmaking).
An unnecessary remake to a horror classic, this Carrie bleeds just enough to inspire cult appeal.