Matt Adcock’s film review: Carrie offers competent chills but the original still has the edge

“Carrie had some sort of power. But she was just like any of you, she had hopes, she had fears, but we pushed her. And you can only push someone so far before they break...”

By The Newsroom
Monday, 2nd December 2013, 4:47 am

We know that high school can be a grim experience for many, with the threat of bullying and the fear of being the ‘oddball’ who doesn’t fit in with the cool kids. Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel, taps into a deep vein of pain which anyone who has been ridiculed, hurt or picked on at school will be able to relate to.

This new version is a remake of the Brian De Palma 1976 original, hailed by many as a modern horror classic. Director Kimberly ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ Peirce brings the tale of poor young Carrie White – played here by Chloë ‘Kick Ass’ Grace Moretz – to the screen with lots of special effects and no small amount of heart.

Alas it never quite manages to come across as anything other than an homage and doesn’t do enough new to make it stand out, apart from some social media elements to reflect the times we live in, and more gruesome deaths.

Having said that, Peirce’s version is a least a competent retelling, which doesn’t completely sully the good name of the original like some other horror remakes we could mention.

Carrie just isn’t like other girls her age thanks to her domineering religious nut of a mother Margaret White (Julianne Moore, who delivers good wrathful zealot). Outcast and bullied, Carrie’s life is pretty unbearable but, unlike most people who get victimised, she has the gift of telekinesis and when tricked and humiliated at the school prom she unleashes bloody vengeance.

Lead bitch bully duty falls to Chris (Portia Doubleday) who leads the school class in sustained malicious taunting and then, aided and abetted by her dodgy older boyfriend Billy (Alex ‘Chronicle’ Russell), sets up Carrie to be an object of ridicule at the prom.

Also involved is Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) who tries to atone for her part in the attack by making her popular boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort) invite Carrie to the prom, thus inadvertently setting up the climatic finale.

This version went down well with my teenage son and his girlfriend and delivers a good looking spooky revenge-em-up – but for a deeper insight into Stephen King’s unsettling story you should still really seek out the original cinema experience.