Film Review: Carrie (2013)

Carrie (2013)
Starring: Chloe Grace Mortiz, Julianne Moore
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Written by: Lawrence D. Cohen and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the book by Stephen King
Rated: R

Rating: 2.0 Stars (2.0 / 5)

Carrie (2013) Poster

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the original Carrie (1978) or read the book. I was never really a fan of either. I came to both too late, with too many spoilers, and after having read and seen far better horror movies/books. Either way I remember little of either, so I cannot provide any meaningful comparison in this review. I have to imagine the two movies are very similar, as Lawrence D. Cohen is credited on both – many scenes are verbatim from the original script, according to various sources online.

At this point most people know the story – a young girl, raised in an extremely conservative religious household, experiences nothing but embarrassment at high school, and the bully’s continue to torment her until a bunch of really terrible things happen. All the terrible things involve blood of some kind.

The movie starts with Carries mother (Moore) giving birth, alone. The pain is excruciating and the birth is bloody – as birth tends to be – and she takes this as a sign that her newborn daughter is a demon. She slept with a man when she knew it was ungodly and this was her punishment. Fast forward to high school where Carrie (Moritz) gets her first period during showers in gym class. Carrie knows nothing about her body, her mother (and apparently the public school system, presumably by her mothers request) has left her completely ignorant. She thinks she’s dying and is immediately belittled by the other high schoolers.

Carrie quickly realizes that she’s been kept in the dark by her mother and that she cannot have the life she thinks she wants. She tries to confront her mother, but that goes rather poorly, resulting in Carrie discovering she can make things move without touching them. As Carrie tries experimenting with her new powers, the kids at school hatch a plan to torment her at prom.

Nothing in this movie made me feel really uncomfortable or particularly sympathetic towards any character. Mortiz did a good job in her innocent portrayal of Carrie, but I never really felt connected. Moore did a frightening job as Carrie’s mother, but I still felt disconnected. I wanted to know more about Carrie at home and wanted to know less about the other girls at school. I don’t remember what the book or previously movie had, but that’s what I was hoping for. I wanted to feel so badly for Carrie that I was rooting for her to destroy the world.

The final scenes of destruction were somewhat fun. I did enjoy the difference in the physical characterization; in the original film, Carrie just stands there and things happen, but in this film, Carrie uses her hands to direct things to happen and you can see the anguish and power and terror in her face. That was a nice touch.

The rest just didn’t grab me. I should have been more scared of Moore’s religious-to-the-point-of-insanity mother; I should have felt terrible for Carrie. Instead I only felt a small touch of terrible for one girl who tries to help Carrie out.

I should have been, but I wasn’t.


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