“Did you throw tampons at Carrie White?”
In Kimberly Peirce’s (Boys Don’t Cry) 2013 version of the Stephen King novel and once already adapted (first by Brian De Palma) ’76 hit Carrie, we’re back in her sheltered and tortured world, this time played by Chloë Grace Mortez. If anyone remembers anything about the original (I mean, how could you ever forget?), Carrie is traumatized by her classmates right from the beginning after she horrifically finds out what having her period is in the cruelest way possible (like, it gets super ugly; tampons are thrown, tears are shed—you know the rest.)
Come 2013, the circumstances have changed: now, instead of good old fashioned peer torture, we have technology to document and share these horrors! Meaning: in this version the senior high school bully and main Carrie torturer Chris (Portia Doubleday) takes it a step further, posting the video online for some laughs. Because you know, watching a video of an innocent girl getting tampons thrown at her is so hilarious.
And Julianne Moore just couldn’t go the whole year without one more off beat mom role (if anyone saw What Maisie Knew). This time: the crazy and abusive Catholic Margaret White, whose obsessive prayers don’t seem to do much when her telekinesis-gifted daughter is withholding her with unearthly psychotic strengths that seem to grow among her inner rage—foreshadowing that bloody ending I was waiting for as soon as Carrie started.
When the nosey, mother-like figure to Carrie Ms. Desjardin (which: Judy Greer!) aka the school’s gym teacher finds out who is responsible for the video, she punishes the class by making them do suicide runs. But Chris is just not having it, refusing to participate in any sort of torture dictated by Desjardin—leaving her the lone wolf without entry to the senior prom.
Not understanding how her bestie Sue Snell (Gabrielle Wilde) could just ignore the situation even though she had a lot to do with the Carrie video, Sue’s innately good spirit accepts Desjardin’s punishment and refuses to take part in Chris’ rebellion. From then on there are two parallel stories that will ultimately foil Carrie’s ultimate evil: Snell’s redemption of making her hot shot jock boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) take Carrie to the prom as a good deed (plus, Tommy and her both dig Milton’s “Samson Agonistes”), and Chris’ evil plan to pour pig’s blood all over Carrie and Tommy at prom.
Overall the film sticks to the original themes pretty well, but never really brings anything new to the table besides a more clear understanding of Carrie’s non-consensual conception (“The first sin was intercourse. The first sin was intercourse. The first sin was intercourse!”) and obviously the contemporary feel of our present times (i.e.: iPhones and Volvos). The last scene when Carrie’s evil is in full effect was particularly creepy and well-done, showcasing her powers as more of a performance than attack; however, besides the last scene the movie could have used a little more scares.
So getting drenched by a bucket of pig’s blood: still disgusting. And yes, high school kids are still a bunch of up-to-no-good jerks. But as much as I thought this remake was going to totally suck, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it despite its so-so reviews. I remember the original being a lot scarier (and bloodier!), probably having something to do with its not-so-Hollywood-like authenticity paired with Pino Donaggio’s eerie score. But for anyone who just appreciates a remake for what it is, the new Carrie was pretty good.
(photo via Beyond Hollywood)