Monday, February 24, 2014

'Carrie (2013)' (Movie Review)

There are a few things you can generally count on with modern horror "reboots".

1. The plot will be boiled down and distilled into a less challenging formula for modern audiences.
2. The films violence will be downgraded to achieve a PG-13 rating (unless it was originally a controversial film, in which case the gore will be ramped up to overshadow the watered-down screenplay)
3. Any social subtexts or satire will be completely stripped out as unneeded as up-and-coming young stars run screaming for their lives.
4. The reboot was most likely unnecessary.

Carrie falls prey to a few of these aforementioned points, but not all of them. However, it commits the ultimate sin of being a pretty boring (and unneeded) re-make of a Stephen King classic.

I think I can safely tell you a synopsis without hitting spoiler territory? Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is an outcast young girl who doesn't fit in with anyone at school. She is terrorized by her religious zealot mother (Julianne Moore), and eventually realizes she has telekinetic powers. Pigs blood; total chaos ensues.

Here's the problems with this "de-make" (I think I'll start using this term more often to be a jerk). First, the deck was stacked against director Kimberly Peirce trying to go up against Brian De Palma's classic. In the tradition of modern Hollywood, nothing can be left to the imagination and no new ideas can be introduced.

Moretz portrayal of Carrie starts as mildly believable,  but quickly turns her into a student from Xavier's school or maybe some sort of unpopular girl from Hogwart's. In a matter of three scenes we go from Carrie not understanding what is happening to ham-fisted CGI effects with her magically levitating beds and books and people. There is an empty "explanation" for her powers, and what we end up with is a mildly sympathetic superhero. It doesn't help matters that Moretz is well known for her role in Kickass. So there is zero subtlety, and everything is re-hashed from either the original film or updated pieces from The Rage: Carrie 2. The power of De Palma's vision was that "bad things can happen to innocent people." None of that is present here. By the time the iconic prom scene arrives, it's pretty much an antihero vengefully and selectively murdering evil high schoolers.

I'll give credit to Julianne Moore. She really tries to do a great job of portraying Carrie's lunatic mother. However, the scenes between her and Moretz are unfortunately cliched and stale. You already see everything coming from a mile away.

In the end, this is a totally unneeded and boring movie that just recycles content from its superior predecessor and brings no fresh ideas to the table. Even Rob Zombie's flawed reboots of Halloween tried out some new material. For the record, at least it shot for the R rating...

Grade: D+

 Reviewed on DVD via Redbox. Running time 100 MIN.

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