News

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

Photo: YouTube

By: George Wolf

Back in ’76, Brian De Palma brought Stephen King’s first novel, “Carrie,” to the screen and a terrifying vision of persecution and comeuppance emerged.

But that was almost 25 years before Columbine, and the image of the bullied and confused wreaking bloody revenge at a high school has taken on a different tenor.

That’s no doubt why King’s tale made its way to television in 2002 with a fresh take on the horror.

But things in high school have changed again, and the story of Carrie White takes on particular tragedy in a wired time where another innocent high school girl takes her life almost weekly due to bullying. Perhaps that’s what drew filmmaker Kimberly Pierce, whose “Boys Don’t Cry” also outlines the tragedy that befalls a young woman violently unaccepted for who she is.

In Pierce’s hands, “Carrie” offers more stripped-down drama – none of the scenery chewing of the De Palma original. There’s no humor to be found in the reboot, but realistic performances and updated context give the film enough bite to keep you watching.

Chloe Grace Moretz takes on lead duties as the youngster whose first monthly flow triggers all manner of havoc, from the most unconscionable bullying to telekenetic powers. Oh, and her mom tries to kill her. So, not the blessing those Health Ed books try to say it is.

Moretz has a big prom dress to fill, and though she has always been a reliable talent, her turn here is unconvincing. Sissy Spacek truly was that innocent, a girl so repressed by her religious mother that she had no conscious knowledge of appropriate social behavior. Moretz is a cute, shy girl the mean kids dislike. It’s not the same.

The always exquisite Julianne Moore actually has an even larger task cut out for her.

The role of Margaret White is a juicy one. Even the TV version drew the great Patricia Clarkson to the project. And Moore is characteristically strong, clearly defining role in a terrifying yet almost sympathetic way. But she’s no Piper Laurie.

Laurie brought such vitality and insanity to the role that the prom became almost secondary, and her chemistry with Spacek was eerily perfect.
The supporting cast of high schoolers is fairly unimpressive, though the ever-reliable Judy Greer adds some fresh depth to the role of Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher.

This “Carrie” is a bit more faithful to the book, and actually delivers a more violent, bloody finale than the original film, which seems to fit with the tensions of today.

The updated context casts a truly saddening shadow over the film, making a major thematic adjustment without even trying. Stephen King wrote a story about hysteria over the dawning of womanhood. But today, the story carries an even darker message. “Carrie” is a cautionary tale about sending your kids to high school.

Recent Headlines

16 hours ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

superbowlball

Here’s a look at some of this weekend’s major sporting events.

17 hours ago in Sports

The week’s best sports shots

Mark Macaspac leaps off the Super Bowl 50 sign inside Super Bowl City Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in San Francisco. The Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A look at some of the biggest moments and best plays in sports this week.

17 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Puppies predict Super Bowl 50

15-overlay-5

Right or wrong, one thing is for sure: these puppies are adorable!

17 hours ago in Sports

Broncos, Panthers set to deliver Super finish to season

16-overlay-4

The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are primed to provide a grand finish worthy of a landmark Super Bowl 50 on Sunday and cap a season of celebration by the National Football League.

18 hours ago in Entertainment

McDonald’s serving up ‘smarter’ Happy Meals

18-overlay-2

Ronald McDonald plans to serve up a side of literacy as the fast food giant swaps toys for millions of books.