'Carrie' remake lacks shock power
When Brian De Palma adapted Stephen King's novel “Carrie” for film in 1976, he turned the story of a bullied teenage girl with telekinetic powers into a dreamy pop-horror fantasia. De Palma threw everything into the movie: split screens, slow motion, cartoonish humor, shameless sentimentality, a merciless sense of justice. The film made you laugh as much as it scared you.
De Palma's “Carrie” became so iconic that it remains vital 37 years later — and casts an imposing shadow over the new version by director Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don't Cry,” “Stop-Loss”). Instead of trying to outdo the grandness of the original, Peirce takes a more-grounded approach, treating the characters of Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her religious-fanatic mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) with more emotional gravity and empathy.
Moretz invests the character with a fragile vulnerability that runs deeper than her unkempt hair and shabby clothes. Carrie discovers she has the ability to move objects with her mind. The power emboldens the timid girl, even though she must keep it hidden from her mom. Moore plays Carrie's monstrous mama as a tragic figure, a sheltered and awkward woman. Moore makes us understand why she does the things she does. The world betrayed her, and she's not going to let the same thing happen to Carrie.
She will fail, of course, in a most spectacular fashion. Carrie is going to suffer, and that's where the movie starts running into problems. Peirce is good at illustrating the complexities and contradictions inherent in her characters: The repentant Sue (Gabriella Wilde), who feels bad about having participated in the locker-room debacle and asks her boyfriend (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to the prom; the mean girl Chris (Portia Doubleday), who plots bloody revenge after being barred from attending the prom; and Coach Desjardin (Judi Greer), the teacher who takes a motherly interest in Carrie.
Peirce fares much worse with the horror elements in the film. This “Carrie” becomes less involving as it goes along, ceding its emotional power to special effects and unconvincing gore.
Rene Rodriguez is a staff writer for the Miami Herald.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- DVD reviews: ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,’ ‘Magic Mike XXL’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’
- Review: ‘99 Homes’ is a terrific, scary look at real estate crisis
- Pop culture Q&A: ‘Endeavour’ continues, ‘Longmire’ on DVD, ‘Signed’ movies, crowd sizes
- Review: Malala’s light shines through flawed documentary
- Review: ‘Pan’ is weird and wacky, but it kinda works
- Review: ‘Big Stone Gap’ tells a southwest Virginia story with a light touch