<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Kimberly Peirce. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Portia Doubleday, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort
This re-imagining of Stephen King’s Carrie with Chloe Grace Moretz benefits from a woman director at the helm. Finally a good scary movie!
Lousy remakes like Texas Chainsaw 3D and not-so-scary movies like MAMA make you think that horror/slasher flicks are dead and gone. Aren’t we all tired of the same old creaking door, scary little girl with long hair over her face, contorted old lady making screeching sound tricks?
And then comes Carrie, a remake of director Brian De Palma’s 1976 film based on author Stephen King’s novel. And a woman, namely Kimberly Peirce who also did Boys Don’t Cry, directs this one. And you can see her sensibilities as a woman in every scene of Carrie. The bullying girls aren’t just caricatures, they’re real and vicious. Even more so than the titular ‘demon girl’.
The very first scene of Carrie is pretty disturbing as the eerie Margaret White, played by Julianne Moore in a role you’ve not seen her in before, delivers a baby she doesn’t want and then comes very close to ramming a pair of scissors into her evil spawn. Margaret is a religious zealot who believes that even going on a date is a sin and raises her daughter Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) with the same beliefs. Unfortunately she didn’t realise that hormonal teenagers can be a lot scarier than the devil!
Kimberly Peirce has said that rather than showing Carrie as a teenager who is possessed by the devil, she wanted to show a young girl who is pushed by her peers into discovering a side of her that her mother fears: her ‘super’ powers. And with Hit Girl from Kick-Ass, Chloe Grace Moretz, playing Carrie, it’s kinda hard not to see her as a powerful superhero rather than a quivering teenager.
Carrie, the ‘little girl’, is unaware of how to be cool and doesn’t even know what is happening to her when she gets her period. But the other girls, including the really evil Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) don’t care. They get their jollies out of throwing tampons at a half-naked Carrie, cowering in pain in the girls’ locker room. Only the caring gym coach Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) and student Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) realise there’s more to Carrie than someone to be tormented.
Carrie isn’t so much scary because of some otherworldly elements or shock tactics. What’s frightening is the realistic portrayal of teenage peer pressure and how horrendous teen girls in America can be to their fellow female students. Even worse than the boys. Portia Doubleday as Chris, Carrie’s arch nemesis, gives us a chilling portrayal of a girl filled with so much malice and self-loathing that she is capable of far more dastardly acts than even the devil-possessed Carrie. Such is human nature and that’s what makes this film scarier than any other ghostly or paranormal tale.
The boys in this film are mere pawns in the hands of the women. There’s plenty of female empowerment, which culminates in the last scene. Carrie, lulled into a fall sense of comfort and camaraderie is drenched in pig’s blood, and she lets loose on the school and bullies who have cause her to turn the harmless telekinetic powers she has into tools of murder and mayhem. The deaths of her classmates are shown in detail; your body tenses at the violence but your heart is somehow filled with a sense of vengeance being fulfilled. You want these merciless heathens to die.
Gritty, real, scary in the true sense rather than just scares-for-thrills, Carrie is a disquieting portrait of how the different get persecuted and how sometimes they rise up to strike back at the true evil than human beings are capable of.
PS: Read this article ‘10 Differences Between the ‘Carrie’ Remake & Original 1976 Movie’ from Screen Rant