Carrie (Remake)

(The gist: Competing with the original Carrie is a daunting task. While the remake made a profound and admirable effort, it still manages to fall short of its predecessor. The Carrie remake has an amazing mother in Julianne Moore, and Chloë Grace Moretz simply belongs in horror, but it really could have used more creep and more horror to stay true to its original.)

It is well documented that Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. Even when he goes off the rails on the last twist of an outlandishly plot, I love him. The original Carrie is definitely one of the ultimate, culture changing Stephen King movies, like The Shining. (For the record, my favorite is The Shawshank Redemption.)

We all knew Carrie would be rebooted eventually (as will many of the other King movies), and let’s not even talk about that abomination of a sequel, Carrie 2, that came out when I was in high school. So it was with curiosity and doubt that I started watching the recent Carrie remake.

Carrie is a true remake of its original with comparable scenes, dialog, and characters. I did not register many huge deviations from the first. It has been so long since I read the novel that I cannot even see which version got it more right. However, as is almost always true, the original simply did it better.

Since the new Carrie mimicked its predecessor quite effectively, things like plot, characters, premise were all pretty comparable. For me, it was the execution of the same things in the remake that was lacking. All the elements were there, but they just did not seem to be developed or presented as well as they were the first time around.

Or perhaps that is nostalgia talking.

The difference I saw between the two was the prom scene. Maybe it is perception based on when I first saw the movies, but the original Carrie seems to be about the prom scene. The rest of the film is ample but mostly just a lead up to the culmination of slaughter in the high school gym. Conversely, the prom sequence in the remake seemed rushed, abbreviated, less developed.

The killing was quick, and I did not care enough about (or even really know at all) the characters being knocked off.

The new Carrie did a great job of letting us get to know Carrie, but when it came time for the violent payout, it seemed to have burned up its time on plot buildup. I can appreciate that time investment, but I still require the bloody results. This is horror, after all. Even with the awesome car accident sequence, I still wanted more development, a slower pace to the prom scene carnage.

I liked the special effects advancement, and I appreciated that the story evolved to include technology including social media. Somehow, it was just missing some soul.

Chloë Grace Moretz did a fine job at portraying an awkward and abused Carrie White, and I absolutely adore her in a horror role (especially something like Let Me In). However, she is no Sissy Spacek. Moretz made Carrie emotional and sympathetic; however, Spacek’s Carrie was more socially withdrawn and inward, which made her so much more effectively creepy when she goes telepathically homicidal.

The best part of the Carrie remake, without a doubt, is Julianne Moore as Carrie’s mother. Moore is so convincing and so terrifyingly insane. She did a brilliant job portraying a deranged King character. I also appreciated the additional scene of Carrie’s birth.

The Carrie remake was good enough, just not nearly as good as the original.