The horror remake is really an unfortunate genre of film. It came out of the lack of creativity from Hollywood studios and doesn’t look like it’s ready to go away any time soon. For some, including the studios, this is a good thing. For diehard horror fans, the same can not be said.
None is more evident than with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Screen Gems film “Carrie (2013)”, which saw, as usual, nothing new done to enhance a remake or make it worth having been made, let alone seen.
This horror film stars Chloe Grace Moretz (upcoming “Laggies”, “If I Stay”), Judy Greer (upcoming “Men, Women & Children”, “Married”), Portia Doubleday (“Her”, “K-11”), Alex Russell (“Cut Snake”, “The Host”), Gabriella Wilde (“Squatters”, “Endless Love”), Ansel Elgort (upcoming “Men, Women & Children”, “The Fault in Our Stars”), and Julianne Moore (upcoming “Still Alice”, upcoming “Maps to the Stars”).
The film was directed by Kimberly Peirce (“Stop-Loss”, “Boys Don’t Cry”) and written Lawrence D. Cohen (“Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King”, “The Tommyknockers”) and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Glee”, “Big Love”). It is based on the book of the same name by Stephen King.
The film opened on Oct. 18, 2013.
So, apparently, I’ve entered a King phase with my movie watching. It really was quite by chance, but it doesn’t keep it from being funny that it occurred. I’d been putting off seeing this particular film because I had a feeling I wasn’t going to enjoy it all that much and that remakes, suck. That’s really the driving force behind passing over remakes for as long as possible.
Now, I’ve seen the original film, and the first remake, which also is why this film is stupid and unnecessary, and I must say, I wish I’d read the book. It’s weird because with the original and first remake, from 2002, I never had a want to read the book. Now, especially when watching the film, all I could think was, I wonder how things happened in the book? Was this scene in the book? Did it end this way? I don’t know. Because of this, as is natural, all I kept doing was comparing it to the original Brian De Palma film. Why? Because at the end of the day, that’s all I saw this as. A remake of his film. I can’t say with certainty if I heard this correctly, prior to the film being released, that Peirce was approaching this by consulting the source material more and creating a much more faithful adaptation, that included the original ending from the book. It’s been stuck in my mind since. If she really did plan on approaching this film that way, she clearly forgot. That and she hired the original screenwriter from the original “Carrie” to work on this one. Nothing screams originality like hiring the person who created it in the first place.
Okay, so now that I’ve done all that, let’s see if there’s anything else I can say about it to sum it up even more. Touching on the fact that this is more a remake of the original film, I’ll say a few things more. Every aspect was more or less like the original. A few things were done differently, or added, but that really didn’t do anything to distract you from the fact that this was a bad film. It was another horrible an unnecessary remake. The only major thing that stood out, for obvious reasons, was the way the film was modernized. So it makes sense that some character would capture the tormenting of Carrie White on their phone and upload it online. It’s the “in” thing to do. Beyond that there was nothing else. Somehow, when watching it, I just felt that the entire film somehow had this dumbed down feeling. The entire high school atmosphere and the kids themselves just irritated me nonstop. Perhaps it says more of the time we’re living in and what the younger kids are growing up in.
The cast was fine, surprisingly. However, they couldn’t make their characters all that interesting or different. That being said, I did like, out of everyone, Greer’s gym teacher. I believe it’s because she brought more than just sympathy and compassion for Carrie, but there was a lot of humor there too. The humor I believe simply comes from Greer herself. She’s funny, and it managed to come out in this character.
Moretz was a very sympathetic Carrie White. You could feel bad for her, but she certainly wasn’t as victimized as I was expecting. An unfair comparison to the original, but that was unavoidable. She was certainly more assertive and not as timid. Even when dealing with her crazy mother, she was certainly able to stand up for herself with a lot of confidence.
The one character that I was so disappointed in was Moore’s Mrs. White. There were plenty of religious views from her, but they seemed to stop just short of edging into really demented, crazy and the extreme area. She also didn’t seem to look all that disturbing. That’s what made the original Mrs. White so frightening in the original. Piper Laurie really looked the part and was far more religious than Moore in this film. I couldn’t feel scared of Mrs. White at all, which explains why Carrie didn’t seem too afraid of her mother.
The big event. The prom. Beautiful, but boring and certainly not remotely scary. The entire thing was more reminiscent of an action sequence. I blame Marco Beltrami’s (“The Drop”, “The Giver”) score for this as well. His score swelled up so much that there was no frightening element in the music or the scene. Carrie’s actions, also seemed more deliberate, which sounds strange as she sets out to get revenge on her tormentors. She seemed to delight in it and wasn’t traumatized by what had just happened. And while the deaths of Chris and Billy still happened, it was a pretty lame manner, mainly because the effects looked like crap. As noted above, I was under the impression the ending was supposed to resemble that of what’s in the book, but it didn’t. A gas station explosion is not how the story ends. I looked it up. Another reason why I find this more a remake of the original film than an adaptation of the book.
The horror genre is truly dead. More so with the constant remakes of horror classics. I fully accept that because I grew up with the original “Carrie”, that it’s harder to see anything beyond that, but I don’t buy that that’s the sole reason for my dislike of this film. This film just didn’t deliver. The moments that should’ve been far more frightening were flat and boring. This is a film that should never have been made, no matter the approach. It’s one of the most well known horror stories, so trying to make it interesting is not really possible. Maybe if the original had been bad, this could’ve been a better film.