A more feminine slant elevates this remake to something interesting, even if the film is overwrought and essentially unnecessary. Director Peirce calls this a new adaptation of the Stephen King novel rather than a remake of the 1976 Brian DePalma film. But while this is an efficiently made freak-out, Peirce packs the screen with nods to the earlier movie, which remains the iconic version of this story.
Carrie (Moretz) is bullied at high school because she doesn't quite fit in. Mean girl Chris (Doubleday) targets her ruthlessly, humiliating her in the locker-room when she first gets her period. But Chris' friend Sue (Wilde) thinks this went too far, and convinces her hunky boyfriend Tommy (Elgort) to take Carrie to the prom. Back home, Carrie's mother Margaret (Moore) is a religious fanatic who hates men, rejects any hint of sex and locks Carrie in a tiny closet to pray for forgiveness when she even mentions going to a dance with a boy. But Carrie's womanhood has also brought her telekinetic powers. And as the prom approaches, Chris is planning something nasty that will provoke Carrie to react.
The first problem here is in casting Moretz as a teen wallflower, because she's simply too confident and glamorous to believe as someone so socially inept. Thankfully, Moretz is a terrific actor, so she sharply catches Carrie's nervous energy and makes us believe that she's been pushed to the brink by both her mother and her classmates. Even so, she works out how to use her power far too quickly. Opposite her, Moore delivers a superbly detailed portrayal of a paranoid true believer.
Peirce shoots and edits the film skilfully, holding to Carrie's tortured perspective. While she cleverly frames each event as an adolescent coming-of-age milestone, Peirce can't resist the pressure to indulge in cheesy horror movie gimmicks like corny shocks and an overstated musical score. This exaggerates the terror of each situation, which makes the film feel nightmarishly gothic, especially with the overuse of digital trickery. But it also puts Carrie's supernatural lashing out into perspective as a teen's defence mechanism against cruel girls, stupid boys and out-of-touch parents.
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 3rd November 1976
Box Office Worldwide: $82.4M
Distributed by: United Artists
Production compaines: Misher Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Screen Gems
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Producer: Kevin Misher
Screenwriter: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie White, Julianne Moore as Margaret White, Judy Greer as Miss Desjardin, Alex Russell as Billy Nolan, Portia Doubleday as Chris Hargensen, Gabriella Wilde as Sue Snell, Max Topplin as Jackie Talbott, Connor Price as Freddy 'Beak' Holt, Ansel Elgort as Tommy Ross, Cynthia Preston as Eleanor Snell, Michelle Nolden as Estelle Parsons, Arlene Mazerolle as Miss Helen Finch, Demetrius Joyette as George, Barry Shabaka Henley as Principal Morton, Samantha Weinstein as Heather, Zoë Belkin as Tina, Karissa Strain as Nicki
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