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That Carrie Remake is Surprisingly Good

That <I>Carrie</I> Remake is Surprisingly Good
Photo by Michael Gibson – © 2012 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Screen Gems, Inc.
Portia Doubleday and Chloë Grace Moretz in Carrie.

Kimberly Peirce changes almost nothing in her rallying remake of Brian De Palma’s classic about a troubled telekinetic teenager. She doesn’t have to. Yes, now the mean girls who pelt Carrie with tampons upload a cell phone video of the attack, and the well-meaning jock who squires the school outcast to prom compares himself to Tim Tebow. But the big difference is the culture around Carrie. In 2013, bullying is the hot-topic high school problem—even Justin Bieber bravely called it “a terrible thing”—which gives Peirce, the empathetic director of Boys Don’t Cry, the audience’s blessing to make Carrie’s anguished vengeance extra gory.

Star Chloë Grace Moretz doesn’t have the alien eeriness of young Sissy Spacek, who was 26 and married when she played the doomed virgin. A beautiful, broad-shouldered blonde who’s already slain 80 dudes onscreen in Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, Moretz has to work harder to sell Carrie’s victim status, hunching herself in half, crossing her elbows tight across her chest, and frizzing her hair into a poof. It doesn’t quite work, so it’s a relief to see her smile when her gym teacher (Judy Greer) convinces her she’d be gorgeous with a little blush. We all know what’s coming, which makes Moretz’s tentative fantasies of acceptance as gutting as the indiscriminate massacre that follows. After the betrayed girl slams shut the gymnasium doors, we can’t help but think of the elaborate kill lists that school shooters leave behind before they give up and just start spraying everyone.

When De Palma shot the original in 1976, the sexual revolution had trickled down to the suburbs. Today, a new puritanism is trickling back up, with politicians and religious leaders trying to keep a new generation of young women from learning how their bodies work.

Chlo&euml; Grace Moretz in Carrie.
Photo by Michael Gibson. © 2012 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Screen Gems, Inc.
Chloë Grace Moretz in Carrie.
Chlo&euml; Grace Moretz in Carrie.
© 2012 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Screen Gems, Inc.
Chloë Grace Moretz in Carrie.

Details

Carrie
Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Sony Pictures
Opens October 18



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Sure, among her senior class Carrie’s a weirdo, but her modest homemade clothes wouldn’t be that out of place on an episode of 19 and Counting, and her mom’s moral code would fit right in with the Westboro Baptist Church (who, like Julianne Moore’s character, also believe in home-schooling). Which means what’s scariest about Carrie in 2013 isn’t that this wounded teenage girl has the power to kill—it’s that there are thousands of girls like her with no power at all.

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10 comments
Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson

I don't really see the point in a remake that's virtually the same as the original. Maybe it's "surprisingly good" because it's a rehash of a film that was already good and didn't need a do-over.

John H. Campbell
John H. Campbell

I am really excited to see this. The original was one of my favorites and it looks as if they have improved upon it.

levine2001
levine2001

This is one of the silliest reviews I have read in some time. 

"Kimberly Peirce changes almost nothing in her rallying remake of Brian De Palma’s classic about a troubled telekinetic teenager. She doesn't have to."

What???  The fact that school bullying is more in the public consciousness these days does NOT justify remaking a classic while bringing nothing substantively new to the table. What it DOES justify is pointing out to today's generation that there is a great film from the 1970s out there that still stands up today and will still powerfully resonate with a new generation that will identify with it when they watch it. 

Why not do that instead??  

Does a reviewer from the Village Voice honestly feel that originality isn't necessary in film, as long as inferior/regurgitated material fits in with some zeitgeist/news cycle of the moment?? Are you somehow afraid that you will be dismissing the seriousness of school bullying if you fail to praise a remake that doesn't justify its own existence? 


Sorry Amy Nicholson - but even without having seen the remake, I can tell that you are being really silly here. 

Daniel Kolodzinski
Daniel Kolodzinski

@Kristi: its "creepy carrie creepy carrie" and its also de palmas son who plays the boy with a voiceover by the gym teacher.

Kristi Marie
Kristi Marie

Only if a little boy goes "crazy Carrie, crazy Carrie" and goes flying off into the bushes.

John Robert Hector
John Robert Hector

If all we did back then was remakes... Today's economic driven brand reiterating & remaking wouldn't exist ! Creating original ideas takes drive & love of the art not the buck.

Gus Anderson
Gus Anderson

Good or not...doesn't matter. Hire some writers and let them invent something NEW ! ! ! ! ! !

 

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