Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror film wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it was a decent supernatural thriller that packed in some nice horror elements with De Palma’s visual flourishes. It was only a matter of time till it got the remake treatment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exactly give us anything particularly new or original to warrant a rehash of Stephen King’s novel.
In case you don’t know the plot, the film follows the plight of Carrie, a young girl who is bullied by her peers and sheltered by her overly religious mother. Telekinetic powers begin to rise up in Carrie, leading her to inevitably unleash these forces on those that have wronged her.
After a relatively impressive and confronting opening sequence, the film falls into an awkward mash-up of laughable melodrama and predictability. In fact, predictability is this film’s highest sin. Sure, if you’ve seen the original or read the novel then the plot shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But when every development in the story is telegraphed so obviously and forcefully, then the film becomes quite dull. The fact that the ridiculously spoilerific trailer gives away everything certainly doesn’t help either.
Chloë Grace Moretz is actually quite good as the titular protagonist. She gives an emotive performance that manages to draw you in, even if she occasionally overplays certain moments. But it’s Julianne Moore that really provides the film with some entertainment. Her over-the-top performance as Carrie’s ridiculously religious mother is wildly enjoyable. She delivers an edgy, crazed woman who is all the more creepy with her unwavering belief that beating Carrie down – emotionally and physically – is what God would want.
Decent performances aside, Carrie just doesn’t hold enough weight to carry a viewer towards its obvious conclusion. There are ultimately two chapters to the film: Carrie gets bullied by school kids and an abusive mother, Carrie loses it. Everything in between just comes across as an exercise in time-wasting, attempting to drag out the simplicity of the plot.
There is some tension to be found amongst the predictability, which is mostly due to the fact that you already know what will happen at the highly mentioned prom. The final events are actually pretty well staged, but it’s all much too short and played way too safe to really get the pulse racing.
It’s a shame that Carrie doesn’t have more to it. The plot, while being familiar, does provide opportunity for a screenplay to further explore the rise of evil in overly religious circumstances. Instead, we get high-school clichés, randomly forceful “comedic” moments, laughable attempts at jump-scares and strange homages to old-school filmmaking. Wasted opportunities abound.
THE REEL SCORE: 5/10