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Review: Carrie

Oct. 17, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is an outcast at her high school, where she’s mercilessly bullied by local queen bee Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday). Feeling pity for her, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) convinces her nice-guy jock boyfriend (Ansel Elgort) to take her to the prom, but she doesn’t know that Chris has a terrible surprise in store for Carrie. However, Carrie’s got a few surprises of her own, including a gift for telekinesis that- despite her devoutly religious mother’s (Julianne Moore) best efforts- is about to get out.

REVIEW: Kimberly Peirce’s CARRIE is a textbook example of why good films should not be remade unless the filmmaker in question has a fresh take on the material. Peirce is no doubt a good director. BOYS DON’T CRY is a terrific film, and STOP-LOSS wasn’t half-bad either. The key difference is that both of those films were about something Peirce seemed to engage with emotionally and intellectually. CARRIE feels like a paycheck job.

Her film offers virtually nothing that wasn’t done better by director Brian De Palma’s 1976 film. That movie oozed a grand guignol style that’s tough for any director to imitate. Peirce makes hers a much more straightforward film, but by doing so also makes it pretty boring, especially for anyone that’s seen the original.

The only new angle Peirce is able to bring to CARRIE is that with YouTube and cyber-bullying, CARRIE’s high school experience has gotten much worse. The infamous “period-in-the-shower” scene is recreated here, with Carrie’s ordeal now being posted on the net for all to gawk at. This works. However, another modern change backfires terribly when Peirce has Moretz’ Carrie research telekinesis on the internet, and master her new powers long before the big prom scene.

Peirce seems to be trying to make Carrie a stronger, more modern girl, but by doing so it undermines the tragic side of the character. Moretz seems too smart, too confident and too pretty to be playing the part, and her makeover feels like something out of SHE’S ALL THAT, rather than Stephen King. Oddly, this choice has made her less sympathetic, as Sissy Spacek played Carrie as someone that’s frightened of her powers, and truly isolated from her peers at school. She was a victim. Here, Carrie seems like just another horror baddie.

The same goes for Julianne Moore, who’s normally one of the best actresses around, but chews the scenery mercilessly, making her devout, outlandishly religious mother more comical than terrifying, as she was when Piper Laurie played her (to iconic effect) in De Palma’s film.

One area where Peirce could have improved upon the original is her depiction of the bullies, but if Nancy Allen and John Travolta were just a couple of believably dumb kids in the original, Portia Doubleday and Alex Russell are hilariously two-dimensional and evil. The both glower and glare at the camera, with several of their lines eliciting laughs from the audience that was present at the press screening. If Peirce’s intention was to make them three-dimensional, it can’t be denied that she utterly fails in this regard.

Gabriella Wilde and Ansel Elgort fare better as the nice-kids that are sympathetic to Carrie, giving them believably contemporary spins on the roles played by Amy Irving and William Katt in the original. The two of them, plus Judy Greer as the no-nonsense, but sympathetic gym teacher, and Barry Shabaka Henley as the flustered principal are CARRIE’s only moderately positive points. Marco Beltrami’s generic horror score is a particularly weak substitute for Pino Donaggio’s over-the-top, but gorgeous score in De Palma’s original.

I suspect the only audience that really might get something out of this CARRIE remake is the audience that hasn’t yet discovered the original film, although they’d be well advised to save their money and watch De Palma’s original film instead. Even better, just read the book.

Need a second opinion? Check out The Arrow's review here!

Source: JoBlo.com

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+10
8:26PM on 10/17/2013

if you'd read the book...

you would know that Carrie does practice using her powers, and is much more powerful on the page than in the first film. I will see this with lowered expectations.
you would know that Carrie does practice using her powers, and is much more powerful on the page than in the first film. I will see this with lowered expectations.
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11:24PM on 10/17/2013

?

Fyi a book is something us old people, you know, people in their 30's, used to have to get our information from. Analog internet. They're heavy and you might need to stretch since you'll have to use your full hand to turn the pages. Careful of paper cuts too, we wouldn't want you clogging up the ER or blogging about it to your therapist.
Fyi a book is something us old people, you know, people in their 30's, used to have to get our information from. Analog internet. They're heavy and you might need to stretch since you'll have to use your full hand to turn the pages. Careful of paper cuts too, we wouldn't want you clogging up the ER or blogging about it to your therapist.
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12:59AM on 10/18/2013
carrie doesn't need to use her hand to turn the pages.
carrie doesn't need to use her hand to turn the pages.
4:49AM on 10/18/2013
Oh now I'm sure us young folk could read it on a nook or kindle or something. No need for one of those, what did you call it again-"books"? ;)
Oh now I'm sure us young folk could read it on a nook or kindle or something. No need for one of those, what did you call it again-"books"? ;)
11:28AM on 10/18/2013
worst comment on a message board ever.
worst comment on a message board ever.
2:12AM on 10/18/2013
Saw "Carrie" tonight and thought they did a great job! Chloe and Julianne couldn't have been a better choice. I loved the original and they stayed true to it. After trusting your great review for "Gravity" and finding out how bad that really was... I had a feeling you're score of 2 for "Carrie would make it an 8 in my book - and I was right. This is the worst review I have read from joblo.com.
Saw "Carrie" tonight and thought they did a great job! Chloe and Julianne couldn't have been a better choice. I loved the original and they stayed true to it. After trusting your great review for "Gravity" and finding out how bad that really was... I had a feeling you're score of 2 for "Carrie would make it an 8 in my book - and I was right. This is the worst review I have read from joblo.com.
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6:45AM on 10/18/2013
No pleasing everyone. Curious how different your views are. Gravity was 10/10 for me! I think I'll trust this review and skip Carrie...
No pleasing everyone. Curious how different your views are. Gravity was 10/10 for me! I think I'll trust this review and skip Carrie...
6:57PM on 10/17/2013
Ouch! I was expecting 5 or 6/10 but 2/10? Is it that bad?
Ouch! I was expecting 5 or 6/10 but 2/10? Is it that bad?
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11:02PM on 10/17/2013

Say what you will...

Good or bad I will still associate Carrie with the ending of Brian De Palma’s film. The first time I watched it when I was a kid I damn near shit my pants...no joke.
Good or bad I will still associate Carrie with the ending of Brian De Palma’s film. The first time I watched it when I was a kid I damn near shit my pants...no joke.
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+5
7:09PM on 10/19/2013
And indeed, the film was not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. Julianne Moore and Moretz were great choices for their parts. Moore always plays crazy well, and this was no exception. And Chloe certainly did come off as vulnerable, with a slight progression in confidence as she gained a hold on her powers. The only complaint I have is that the film felt rushed. I think it would have been a lot better if the film took it's time and developed things a bit more progressively, as well as
And indeed, the film was not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. Julianne Moore and Moretz were great choices for their parts. Moore always plays crazy well, and this was no exception. And Chloe certainly did come off as vulnerable, with a slight progression in confidence as she gained a hold on her powers. The only complaint I have is that the film felt rushed. I think it would have been a lot better if the film took it's time and developed things a bit more progressively, as well as making the entire climax longer. This was a 6/10 for me, which is good. I think your rose colored glasses for the 1976 film tinted your review of this film a bit more harshly than it deserves, because it certainly isn't as bad as a 2/10. A 4 maybe, but a 2, certainly not.
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12:56AM on 10/22/2013

Call me crazy, but I kind of liked it

I don't think this is as bad as everyone is making it sound. It definitely wasn't without its problems (most of which occurred in the final act). The prom scene was a little disappointing. They should have tried to keep it more practical because the CGI effects didn't pan out very well. However, I really dug Chloe Grace Moretz's performance. I felt very emotionally invested in the character throughout the entire film and thought she played a great Carrie. This is where I mainly (and
I don't think this is as bad as everyone is making it sound. It definitely wasn't without its problems (most of which occurred in the final act). The prom scene was a little disappointing. They should have tried to keep it more practical because the CGI effects didn't pan out very well. However, I really dug Chloe Grace Moretz's performance. I felt very emotionally invested in the character throughout the entire film and thought she played a great Carrie. This is where I mainly (and respectfully) disagree with Chris' review. I honestly thought Chloe is truly what saved this film for me. I don't feel that she was miscast in this role at all. As far as Julianne Moore went, she maybe could have been used more, but I thought she did fine with her limited amount of screen time. I'm also not sure why there's such hate for the bullies, saying that they were too one-dimensional. I absolutely despised the bullies in Carrie, which for me is a sign that they served their purpose exactly as intended. Overall, I felt the first two-thirds of the movie moved along nicely and kept my attention, but the film's climax definitely deserved better. Even with that I still came out of the theater feeling pleasantly surprised as I was expecting much worse. That's just my two cents. Thanks for the review Chris! 7/10
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+4
8:05PM on 10/19/2013
Just got back from seeing it. I thought it was pretty damn good. Way better then this review. Not gonna spoil anything but I get the feeling they are setting up for a sequel.
Just got back from seeing it. I thought it was pretty damn good. Way better then this review. Not gonna spoil anything but I get the feeling they are setting up for a sequel.
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+4
8:22PM on 10/17/2013
I'm going to have to check this out because I can't believe it's that bad.
I'm going to have to check this out because I can't believe it's that bad.
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12:37AM on 10/21/2013
I liked it. A lot! Wasn't a masterpiece, but def not a 2/10! I agree, most people are comparing it too much to the 1970 version. Having only seen that one when I was drunk, I got to say I like both, but this one a tiny bit more because of Moore as Margaret.

Gravity was a 9/10 for me and this was probably a 6/10...in fact it gave me such chills, especially anything involving Carrie at home with her mom. It might even be a 7/10, but I'm def starting to think the premise of Carrie is not
I liked it. A lot! Wasn't a masterpiece, but def not a 2/10! I agree, most people are comparing it too much to the 1970 version. Having only seen that one when I was drunk, I got to say I like both, but this one a tiny bit more because of Moore as Margaret.

Gravity was a 9/10 for me and this was probably a 6/10...in fact it gave me such chills, especially anything involving Carrie at home with her mom. It might even be a 7/10, but I'm def starting to think the premise of Carrie is not Stephen King's best. I mean...a Greek Tragedy about prom...

Now Captain Phillips was the 10/10 for me. Truly incredible
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12:38AM on 10/21/2013
I do realize though that the first movie deserves a sober rewatch.
I do realize though that the first movie deserves a sober rewatch.
9:28PM on 10/17/2013
Wow...I wasn't expecting it to be that bad. I was pretty sure this would get like a 5.
Wow...I wasn't expecting it to be that bad. I was pretty sure this would get like a 5.
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9:16PM on 10/17/2013
Does Marco Beltrami write anything other than generic and boring sounding scores?
Does Marco Beltrami write anything other than generic and boring sounding scores?
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11:45AM on 10/18/2013
Did it have the opening scene where all the girls are running around in the locker room stark naked with their big 70s beavers showing? Now THAT was scary.
Did it have the opening scene where all the girls are running around in the locker room stark naked with their big 70s beavers showing? Now THAT was scary.
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9:35PM on 10/17/2013
Great review...but this saddens me. Not because your review is bad. It's a very good review, but I've been hoping for a CLOSE adaptation of the novel...but instead it's just another retread of the original film. The original film is a classic and it is very good, but it was quite different from the novel...so I'm disappointed that the director lied to us and told us it's based on the novel and not the original film...and I'm hearing now that she also lied about the two destruction that was
Great review...but this saddens me. Not because your review is bad. It's a very good review, but I've been hoping for a CLOSE adaptation of the novel...but instead it's just another retread of the original film. The original film is a classic and it is very good, but it was quite different from the novel...so I'm disappointed that the director lied to us and told us it's based on the novel and not the original film...and I'm hearing now that she also lied about the two destruction that was present in the novel. She said she was retaining if for the film, but now everything I read is that she wasn't being honest and that it's nowhere to be found :/
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8:10PM on 10/17/2013

This makes me sad.

I've been anticipating this film all year, I love the book and original De Palma film only to read reviews saying it's everything I wanted it not to be.
I've been anticipating this film all year, I love the book and original De Palma film only to read reviews saying it's everything I wanted it not to be.
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8:29AM on 10/18/2013
Thumbs up for the Death avatar. Long live Chuck Schuldiner!
Thumbs up for the Death avatar. Long live Chuck Schuldiner!
6:34PM on 10/17/2013
Yep, sounds like all my fears have been realized regarding this movie.
Yep, sounds like all my fears have been realized regarding this movie.
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+0
3:55PM on 01/04/2014

Not bad al all

Reading this review a few weeks ago i thought , wow...better skip this movie if it's this bad. But i couldn't resist and did watch it just now, and i was really expecting to see a really shitty movie but it wasn't shitty at all! Ok, it wasn't perfect either, it had it's problems with one-dimensional characters but i really liked Chloe's performance as Carrie, she did an outstanding job! it isnt a masterpiece and the Original is way better but a 2 out of 10? Common, this is more like a 5 or a 6,
Reading this review a few weeks ago i thought , wow...better skip this movie if it's this bad. But i couldn't resist and did watch it just now, and i was really expecting to see a really shitty movie but it wasn't shitty at all! Ok, it wasn't perfect either, it had it's problems with one-dimensional characters but i really liked Chloe's performance as Carrie, she did an outstanding job! it isnt a masterpiece and the Original is way better but a 2 out of 10? Common, this is more like a 5 or a 6, definitely watchable and surely not a waste of time!
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7:04PM on 10/20/2013
Throw it on the heap w all the other unnecessary, immediately forgotten remakes. Plenty of room for Poltergeist & countless others yet to come.....
Throw it on the heap w all the other unnecessary, immediately forgotten remakes. Plenty of room for Poltergeist & countless others yet to come.....
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-1
10:08PM on 10/19/2013
honestly never saw the original but this movie sucks, the acting was horrible as in over-acting, unintentionally funny, hit girl was too pretty/had too much make up to be considered a victim/outcast, even though it is rated r it felt way too clean as if they were preparing to cut it to pg-13 if needed, kill scenes seem that they originally meant for 3d conversion but never happened, really cheesy, the pacing/story/script just wasn't that solid.

Believe me save your money or go see the escape
honestly never saw the original but this movie sucks, the acting was horrible as in over-acting, unintentionally funny, hit girl was too pretty/had too much make up to be considered a victim/outcast, even though it is rated r it felt way too clean as if they were preparing to cut it to pg-13 if needed, kill scenes seem that they originally meant for 3d conversion but never happened, really cheesy, the pacing/story/script just wasn't that solid.

Believe me save your money or go see the escape plan
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-2
11:23AM on 10/21/2013

Just...wow

(SPOILERS). I don't leave many comments on this site, despite how much I read "articles" and reviews here. With this movie I have to. I am a huge Stephen King fan (mostly books), huge horror fan, and this was the one movie I was looking forward to all year (I'm even rolling my eyes at that now). Also, i never write many negative things and give many things the benefit of the doubt. not this time.
Kimberly Peirce has lost ALL street cred and well deserves all the bad reviews she/the movie
(SPOILERS). I don't leave many comments on this site, despite how much I read "articles" and reviews here. With this movie I have to. I am a huge Stephen King fan (mostly books), huge horror fan, and this was the one movie I was looking forward to all year (I'm even rolling my eyes at that now). Also, i never write many negative things and give many things the benefit of the doubt. not this time.
Kimberly Peirce has lost ALL street cred and well deserves all the bad reviews she/the movie gets. Harsh, i know, but i feel it's true I just re-red the book a few days before seeing the movie. That being said, like EVER review I am not going to compare it to the book (too much, at least not where it's deserved) and WILL not compare it to the '76 movie. As a stand alone movie, it was wretched. Embarrassingly so. Cringe worthy. Yes, the story was there, and it's a fantastic story...if they wanted to stick to it and make it modern, which would have been easy. They seemed to have just pick and choose things they wanted take and fck the rest. Okay, so...
Too rushed
Julianne Moore not used enough
I have to say i agree with many that Chloe was miscast. Having bad posture doesn't make you awkward or ugly or weird
CARRIE. DOES. NOT. FLY.
Cheesy special effects
They added back story to random parts, but not things that needed explaining. (Rocks at the end? I the book it at least made sense0
THAT ending? I don't care that it ended like that, but it was so poorly done. it belonged in Return of living Dead, at least that movie was self aware.
like may Stephen King books, your suspension of disbelief is tested, hard. The book (my comparison), liek many of his, are in the person head; dialogue, thoughts, etc. That's what made carrie, all the different view points, and articles.
No town destruction, at not seen, no after math, which was so good in the book. No cuddling students, that survey, she destroyed that school.
Alright ,it's not even worth writing about.

Tsk tsk on all involved. Paycheck project with zero heart.

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6:48PM on 10/17/2013
i was hoping it would be good i never really cared for the 70s movie guess ill just stick with the book
i was hoping it would be good i never really cared for the 70s movie guess ill just stick with the book
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8:25PM on 10/17/2013

How.........

Expected
Expected
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11:33PM on 10/17/2013
Yet another reason to skip this moronic film. I'll be spending my money on Escape Plan this weekend.
Yet another reason to skip this moronic film. I'll be spending my money on Escape Plan this weekend.
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10:54AM on 10/18/2013
Shitty-looking 'Carrie' remake is shit. Obviously.
Shitty-looking 'Carrie' remake is shit. Obviously.
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-13
6:52PM on 10/17/2013
The thing why Evil Dead was so successful was that it went with its own distinctive style and ran with it. Just by seeing trailers of Carrie, you could tell it was going to be a pale imitation of the original.
The thing why Evil Dead was so successful was that it went with its own distinctive style and ran with it. Just by seeing trailers of Carrie, you could tell it was going to be a pale imitation of the original.
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1:35AM on 10/22/2013
Your post made me think of this: the Evil Dead remake is generally accepted because it wasn't just a retread of the original, but on the other hand people despise Rob Zombie's Halloween because it took Michael Myers in an entirely different direction than the original. Why is that? Just a thought. :-)
Your post made me think of this: the Evil Dead remake is generally accepted because it wasn't just a retread of the original, but on the other hand people despise Rob Zombie's Halloween because it took Michael Myers in an entirely different direction than the original. Why is that? Just a thought. :-)
8:11PM on 10/17/2013
That's too bad. I really enjoy Moretz, Moore, and Greer's work. But there was nothing effective or different from the trailers that we haven't already seen before in the original.
That's too bad. I really enjoy Moretz, Moore, and Greer's work. But there was nothing effective or different from the trailers that we haven't already seen before in the original.
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