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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

CARRIE (2013)

Last and least: Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie White

CARRIE (2013). Director: Kimberly Peirce.

In another unnecessary remake of Brian De Palma's classic Carrie -- this time a theatrical release -- our telekinetic teen is played by Chloe Grace Moretz. If I recall correctly, Carrie White in King's novel was plain and dumpy. Sissy Spacek in the first screen adaptation was more attractive and Moretz is practically a certified "babe" even before her makeover, so her casting is problematic. Her performance isn't bad -- though not on the level of Spacek's [nor of Angela Bettis' in the 2002 television version] -- even if on occasion she's all twitches and ticks to get across Carrie's shyness and level of anxiety. This version (along with the telefilm) offers another reason for why the students dislike Carrie, that she "goes about saying everyone but her and her mother are going to hell," but this is never demonstrated. Julianne Moore doesn't seem to have a clue as to how to play Carrie's mother; she just completely de-glamorizes herself and hopes that that will work, but it doesn't. The younger actors and the gym coach are satisfactory. Some sequences are well-staged, and Carrie's dispatching of Chris and Billy, her chief tormentors at the prom, is more elaborate. The biggest problem with this version is at the climax -- instead of being numb, her powers growing outward almost accidentally in an explosion she can hardly contain, Carrie's murders of classmates, guilty or innocent, are demonic, conscious, and deliberate. This is definitely a dumbed-down Carrie. Again Lawrence D. Cohen's screenplay for the original is used as the template, with tinkering by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Verdict: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. **1/2.

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