A remake of the 1976 horror movie Carrie, based off of the 1974 Stephen King novel by the same name, was released on Friday, October 18.
Carrie White, who was raised by a heavily religious mother, is ostracized at school for being weird and unpopular. After a group of girls humiliates her for being confused by her first period, Carrie starts to demonstrate telekinetic powers; when she gets very upset, lights blow out or objects fall off shelves. The girls who mocked her are forced to attend daily workouts as a punishment from their gym teacher, who threatens to ban them from their senior prom if they fail to attend. One girl, Chris, storms angrily out of a workout and plots to humiliate Carrie as revenge for being banned from the prom.
Sue, another girl who initially mocked Carrie, feels the need to make up for her earlier humiliation of Carrie with a kind act. She tells her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to ask Carrie to prom. Tommy does so, and eventually wins Carrie over despite her mother’s objections. While Carrie and her mother argue about whether Carrie can go to prom, Carrie reveals her telekinesis to avoid being sentenced to time in the closet. Her mother begs her to stop using the Devil’s powers, but Carrie refuses. She tells her mother that she’s going to the prom. Meanwhile, Chris and her boyfriend hatch a plot to embarrass Carrie at the prom – I won’t give any details, as the plan and Carrie’s revenge after its realization make up the terrifying climax of the movie.
The older movie and the contemporary one follow a similar storyline. The only notable differences are that the modern movie includes Sue’s pregnancy at the end (a plot point in the book) and that Sue’s motives are more clearly stated in the retelling (in the 1976 version, she seems vaguely involved in the plot to humiliate Carrie because her motive for having Tommy ask Carrie to the prom isn’t clearly spelled out; in the 2013 version, Sue clearly feels upset about what the girls did to Carrie and wants to make up for it).
Regarding the cast, the original Carrie, Sissy Spacek, was superb for the role. She gave off the aura of a girl estranged from teenage society and demonstrated negative emotions (fear, anger, etc.) well. She was always shy and timid – a believable outcast.
Chloë Grace Moretz (the 2013 Carrie), on the other hand, is less believable in terms of her outcast status. For starters, she’s way too hot. Looking made-up and looks-conscious in every scene doesn’t make sense for a girl whose mother forbids her to leave the house in “un-modest” clothing. While Spacek legitimately looked like a farm girl half of the time, Moretz looks like every one of the “popular” girls, but for her unkempt hair. For that reason, Spacek was easier to believe – she seemed to pay little attention to her looks and have a hard time fitting in because of her mother’s influence. Moretz just seems like a quiet girl who is barely different from the more popular ones.
But one thing Moretz is phenomenal at is the RAGE. Spacek’s (spoiler alert!) murder spree was scary and intense; Moretz’s rampage is terrifying, bloody, and brutal. Part of this can be attributed to improvements in special effects, but Moretz did do a better job embodying anger.
Still, the real MVP of the modern version is Julianne Moore, who is downright creepy as Carrie’s mother. She sneaks and slinks around the house, often walking a few steps behind Carrie without saying a word, and always with a stern look on her face. She far outshines the original (still creepy) 1976 performance by Piper Laurie.
All in all, this is an AMAZING horror movie in both incarnations (I do prefer the 2013 version, but hey, it’s up to you!) It’s playing in theaters near you at The Pearl Theatre at Avenue North (1600 North Broad St.) and the UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17 (1400 South Columbus Blvd.) I’d recommend catching a midnight showing – that’s what I did, and it makes the movie even scarier.