Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

CARRIE (2002)

Angela Bettis as Carrie White

CARRIE (2002 telefilm). Director: David Carson.

This unnecessary TV remake of Brian De Palma's excellent Carrie tells the same story of a tormented telekinetic teen who wreaks havoc after she's humiliated at the prom, but takes half an hour longer to do so. It could be argued that this is somewhat more faithful to the documentary-type approach of the novel, but the scenes with a cop (David Keith) interviewing different people about the prom disaster that are interspersed throughout the telefilm add nothing to the movie, and only pad the running time so this could air in a three hour time slot (with lots of commercials naturally). Angelis Bettis is quite good as Carrie White, looking a bit more neurotic and freakish than Sissy Spacek, but Patricia Clarkson is completely unimpressive as her mother. Perhaps trying not to imitate the flamboyant Piper Laurie in the original, Clarkson underplays too much and is simply dull; she's more natural than Laurie but much less interesting. Rena Sofer is fine as the gym teacher, and the other young people playing assorted high-schoolers are all okay. This includes some other sequences from the book, such as a meteor shower hitting Carrie's house, and a scene when bitchy Chris Hargensen's father threatens the school with a law suit. Otherwise, it pretty much follows Lawrence D. Cohen's screenplay for the original version, using much of the same dialogue, although, incredibly, only Bryan Fuller is credited. The ending was supposed to make room for a weekly television series about the exploits of Carrie White, but low ratings put paid to that lousy idea. The funniest line has someone remarking that mean girl Chris Hargensen has an IQ of 140 -- sure! The original film was actually moving at times, but this one is not.

Verdict: Some good things in this, including Bettis' performance, but far below the level of the De Palma classic. **1/2.

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