Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Carrie: DVD Review

Carrie: DVD Review

Rating: R16
Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

So, after the 1976 classic of Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek as Carrie and Piper Laurie, we get the 2013 re-imagining of the Stephen King iconic story.

Kick Ass' Hit Girl, Chloe Grace Moretz stars as Carrie White, who this time around is an abused child, locked in the cupboard under the stairs by a religious puritannical fundamentalist zealot of a mother (Julianne Moore) traumatised by the birth and confused by the conception.

Shy, awkward and stooping, Carrie is an outsider at high school and encounters the first throes of womanhood in a shower in front of all her classmates. Mocked and bullied by them for her reaction, and taped on a mobile phone (one of only a few touches which suggest this film is in the modern day setting), Carrie begins to realise she has powers springing up from this life-changing event.

But along with those powers, the bullying of a group of girls increases and begins to make her life hell; with only the protection of Judy Greer's PE teacher, it's clear something's gotta give. However, a ray of light comes when one boy Tommy offers to take her to the prom (it's because his girlfriend felt guilty about the bullying) and soon Carrie starts to believe that she's normal and being accepted.

The prom comes around - and we all know what happened to Carrie at the prom....

The remake of Carrie is frightfully dull, despite the best intentions of those involved.

Chloe Grace Moretz doesn't quite give off the impression of a Carrie; she's all wide-eyed, open-mouthed, looking like she's permanently stubbed her toe as she wanders from one miserable encounter to the next. She only really comes alive and brings a few of the chills during the discovery of her powers with her mother and when asked to call upon the naively innocent girl within during being pursued to go to the prom. Elsewhere, she tries to deliver a performance that plays on the outsider but doesn't quite make it thanks to her really not looking the part in the same way that Spacek did.

That the film doesn't quite work is also due in part to the mostly stereotyped bullies, who are scantily sketched out and proffer up little character of their own, meaning there's hardly any kind of pull when the telekinetic storm is unleashed at the prom. That scene alone though is more of a performance though; Chloe Grace Moretz's almost orchestral and balletic movements seem like a show being put on as bits start flying around (a la many superhero origin movies you've seen) and the stuff hits the proverbial fan.

Equally, Julianne Moore gives relatively good unhinged as the mother who'd rather pray and banish Carrie under the stairs than connect with her growing daughter. Complete with self-harming, Moore's mother adds little to the film after a mightily impressive opening birthing scene which is truly horrific and packed with psychological damage.

Religious iconography is plastered rather scattergun throughout the film - a statue of Jesus bleeds from the stigmata when Carrie's trapped in her cupboard, one character's killed off in a crucifixion pose - and it's a little heavy-handed. A degree of subtlety, rather than plenty of slow-mo shots, would have been more effective in conveying the horror.

Overall, the 2013 remake of Carrie doesn't really succeed in bringing anything new or original to the cinematic table - it's all been done exceptionally well back in its 1976 version. This Carrie is a bit of a bloody misfire; not exactly a disaster, but not exactly a seized opportunity.

Extras: Creating Carrie, telekinesis coffee shop stunt


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