'Carrie' Critics Unable To See Past 1976

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The latest adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 novel, Carrie, has received a series of negative reviews ahead of its release in the US today (18th October). The film stars Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), as Carrie, and Julianne Moore (The Hours) as her mother, Margaret. Carrie has the supernatural gift of telekinesis and, after being bullied at her high school, uses her powers to destroy her tormentors.

Julianne Moore, Kimberley Pierce and Chloe Moretz
Julianne Moore, Kimberley Pierce and Chloe Moretz at the L.A. premiere of Carrie.

Reviews of this latest adaptation have been less than favourable. There gory elements have been "revamped" but, as Katey Rich of The Guardian stated, "Carrie eventually devolves into lacklustre modern horror clichés for a souped-up version of the famous finale." 

A number of critics have compared this recent adaptation to the 1976 film starring Sissy Peck as Carrie and Laurel Piper as her mother. Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star described the 2013 film as "a pallid imitation of the original." In a similar vein David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote Carrie is "more effective and less overblown than many unnecessary horror remakes, but it can't compare with the original."

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore plays Carrie's mother.

The director's decisions have also been questioned. Kimberley Pierce has previously directed or written a number of independent films which focus on controversial issues or those which are not usually presented in mainstream cinema. For instance Boys Don't Cry, starring Hilary Swank, tells of a gay woman's attempt to find love in Nebraska wearing a man's garb. As Pierce has a reputation for dealing with complex issues, many critics were surprised to find her adaptation of Carrie fairly one dimensional. 

Watch the movie trailer for Carrie:

This is reflected upon by Betsy Sharkey of the L.A. Times who claimed "Carrie should have delivered more with the material in the filmmaker's feminist hands." Furthermore, Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine stated "In focusing on predominately kid-gloves portrayals of her teen players, Kimberly Peirce never properly addresses the machinery behind their doom."

Some critics including those of the Entertainment Weekly and the San Francisco Chronicle have written positive reviews, primarily emphasising Carrie retains the essence of the high school revenge movie. Furthermore the action is impressive and would, according to EW's critic, "make the devil - or Bruce Willis - proud." Nevertheless, each review mentioned that the film lacks depth. 

Carrie is released in US cinemas today (18th October). Cinema goers in the UK will have to wait until the 29th November to see the film. 

Chloe Moretz
Chloe Moretz stars as the eponymous heroine in Carrie.


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