Carrie remake proves some movies should be left alone

Daniel Woodhouse

Courtesy of Facebook
Courtesy of Facebook

Remakes: They’re either used as a crutch for Hollywood when they run out of new ideas or for producers who feel like milking a few more bucks out of an old classic. Either way, this movie reminded me of my senior prom, or at least before it, when I was waiting for the limo, aimlessly flipping around cable channels and the first movie to show up was Carrie.

The story for the new Carrie is pretty much the same as the Stephen King novel. Shy high school girl Carrie White freaks out when she gets her first period and is bullied for it by the preppy girls of the school. One of the girls that mocked her feels bad, so she convinces her boyfriend to take Carrie to prom. She goes to prom, gets a bucket of pig’s blood dumped on her and murders most of her classmates using telekinetic powers.

Kimberly Pierce, who is best known for directing films about women who are social outcasts, seems like she would fit perfectly for a movie like this. Unfortunately, Carrie is more or less a shot-for-shot remake of the classic 1976 film. Nothing is added besides a few technological updates to show this is 2013 and a bizarre scene at the beginning where Carrie’s mother gives birth with no one to help her. The horror elements are less effective because Pierce flakes out and uses cheap CGI for special effects that look like they came from a B-movie and make the film feel lazy. As this year’s Evil Dead remake showed, practical effects are far more visually stimulating than computer-generated effects. I also cast blame on writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lawrence D. Cohen for toning down the prom massacre. Not only are there barely any new creative kills, but the film significantly decreases the killcount. In the novel, Carrie doesn’t just kills a few annoying teens — she destroys her entire high school and wipes out a huge chunk of the town; the massacre demonstrates how much rage had been boiling up over the years.

I also had problems with the casting and performances. While no one will ever replace Sissy Spacek, who played Carrie in the 1976 film, they could have at least given the title role to an actress that doesn’t look like a thirteen-year-old. Chloe Grace Moretz also smiles while killing people at the prom, which gives the impression that Carrie enjoys making people suffer. This goes against the character’s persona of a cold, emotionally-dead girl who doesn’t know how to express joy. Conversely, Julianne Moore and Portia Doubleday give chilling performances as Carrie’s mom and Chris Hargensen, respectively. While Moore nails the religious fervor of Carrie’s mom, Doubleday displays a natural talent for portraying a spoiled brat with an unnerving, sinister persona.

Carrie adds nothing new to the original and seems unnecessary. The studio should have taken Stephen King’s own suggestion and cast Lindsay Lohan as Carrie. Even better, they could’ve paired her up with Michelle Bachmann as Carrie’s mom — now there’s a remake I would pay full price to see.

2.5 out of 5 stars