By: Isaac Mathewson
While Stephen King has never been my favorite author of all time, I think “Carrie” is one of his best stories. There have been two film adaptations of it including the 1976 version by Brian De Palma which is considered a horror classic as well as the underrated 2002 TV movie. Now there is a third adaptation which is in many ways better than the others.
Many are familiar with the story, but for those who aren’t, I’ll fill you in. “Carrie” tells the story of a high school girl named Carrie White, played in this version by Chloe Moretz, who is harassed by her over religious mother, played by Julianne Moore, as well as her classmates. After having her first period in front of her classmates, one of the girls who took part in her harassment, Sue Snell, played by Gabrielle Wilde, feels guilty about having hurt her and decides to ask her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, played by Ansel Elgort, to invite her to prom. However, the fellow classmate, the sassy Chris Hargenson, played by Portia Doubleday, wants revenge on Carrie for making her miss prom, and her actions ultimately result in a night of fire, destruction, and sheer terror.
The film was directed by Kimberly Price who directed “Boys Don’t Cry” and her film is mostly faithful to the book. Everything is in there and many scenes and lines of dialogue are reminiscent of the De Palma version. With that said there are many points that this version did better than the De Palma version. There were points that the De Palma version left out and are explained better in this version such as Carrie discovering that she is not the only one with this power, and her reasons for wanting to wreak havoc on the prom in the first place. There is also a modern twist to the story as it takes place in the present day, and there is a subplot in which Chris films Carrie’s period on her smartphone, and puts it on YouTube.
Perhaps the best quality about this film is the casting. Everyone looks and sounds his or her part. Moore is, in my opinion, a better mother than Piper Laurie from the De Palma version, as she is a lot less over-the-top and in many respects, this makes her more terrifying. The bullies are more believable in this version than they were in the De Palma version and the main teacher Miss Desjardin, played by Judy Greer, is also. However, the biggest deciding point is the main character herself. Moretz is a lot younger than her predecessors Sissy Spacek and Angela Bettis, and in many ways this makes her more realistic. However, I still believe Spacek was better as she was more sympathetic and in my opinion is a better actress, but Moretz is still very good.
While there are certain aspects that make this film better than the original classic, there are some aspects that this film used that were not as good. As I said before, many lines are recycled from the original and while it is nostalgic, many are outdated. Also, I think that the original is scarier and more memorable, and for the most part is acted better and is better written. These problems are not huge though, and they do not ruin this film.
While not entirely new, this version is still very well done and is enjoyable for horror fans or fans of the original classic. It is a story of revenge, horror, but above all, it is a coming-of-age story that shows the hardships of growing up as well as the corruption of youth, much like “Spring Breakers.” While it is not as good as the original, it is still worth seeing this Halloween season.
Motion Picture Rating: R
For language, violence, and disturbing images
My rating: A-