Thursday, April 10, 2014

Movie Review: Carrie (2013)

     For the past several years, bullying has become a hot topic issue in our society. Naturally, there was only one thing to do.

     Remake Carrie.

     In case you have been living in the bush for over 40 years, Carrie is the story of a bullied young girl who develops telekinetic powers and uses them to be really awesome take bucket-loads of revenge. The book was written by Stephen King and published in 1974. It was infamously translated to film in 1976, starring Sissy Spacek’s big eyes. They made a really stupid sequel that didn’t make sense and involved CD deaths, the like which would not be seen until the Transformers movie, except Frenzy had caffeine powers instead of telekinetic powers. Then, in 2002,they remade the film in the hopes of starting a series that never happened.

     Which brings us to the latest movie. I somewhat remember the one from 1976, barely looked at the one from 2002, and only remember the stupid sequel because CD death. So, I had a pretty fresh mindset when I watched this film and I’m not here to compare. That said, this was a very powerful and emotional film, and I think the director and the writers did a good job of making this more than a mere horror movie.

     First off, Chloe Moretz is a fantastic actress. At first she seems extremely vulnerable, as though she’ll break at any moment, constantly hugging herself and sliding along walls in a desperate attempt to remain unnoticed, with sudden, sharp bursts of vehemence revealing much more underneath. I do remember the change they made to the initial scene in the principal’s office; originally, Carrie was merely angered that the principal can’t remember her name. Here, the mention of telling her mother about the shower incident clearly terrifies her.

     Julianne Moore makes for a good, bedraggled, psychotic Margaret White. Babbling out bits of Scripture with the weird beliefs she picked up from God-knows-where in this quiet, almost non-stop manner, literally dragging Carrie to her “prayer closet”, and immediately picking up the biggest butcher knife available when Carrie’s powers manifest, you know why everyone gives her wide berth. We see her digging a needle into her leg and beating her head against a wall at odd times, and it’s clear the woman is off her rocker.

     The movie knows most viewers will have seen one of the previous versions, and uses that to build up anticipation. Knowing the kind of rampage Carrie will go on, the main “villains”, Chris and Billy, are depicted as being almost sociopathic. Chris literally has no understanding of how her actions could be cruel, stating “Carrie had it coming since sixth grade”, and she and Billy take a near-psychotic pleasure in slaughtering the pig for its blood. In contrast, we get several scenes in which Sue and her boyfriend start understanding, in their own careless teenage way, what Carrie’s life might be like.

     The Really Big Rampage At The End (RBRATE?) was horrifying, and once again showed off Chloe Moretz’s skills. She was good at acting innocent and vulnerable; now we see her in a state of terrifying calm as she comes up with increasingly inventive ways to kill her classmates at the prom. At the same time, she turns on Miss Desjardin, only to (apparently) look into her mind, see her good intentions, and drop her out of harm’s way. Chloe makes for an eerie sight, gliding around in a blood-covered dress in something almost like a state of Zen.

     The climax depicts well the two impulses within Carrie. She wants to be a happy, carefree teenager with friends; but she’s so filled with rage she can barely control it. She must defend herself against her psychotic mother, but at the end she holds her in an obvious Pieta metaphor. The movie tries to end on a horrific scare note, similar to the last two. Sue visits Carrie’s grave (already covered in graffiti) and places a rose, the only person to have done so, clearly. At the very end, we see the gravestone start cracking and hear a scream, but it does nothing to add to the atmosphere. In the end the movie was not so much terrifying as completely, utterly tragic.

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