Carrie Review

Ryan Sternfels

I want to start by saying thank you.  Thank you to all those who do not talk or check their phones during the motion picture.  You guys and gals are incredible.

I got the chance to catch the premiere of Carrie last night and was vaguely disappointed, but also relieved, that the theater wasn’t packed.  People just don’t show up like they used to.  With ten dollar ticket prices and four dollars for a Pabst Blue Ribbon, theaters across the globe have lost their way and their customers in the process.  But who’s to blame?  The studios for a lack in content?  A recovering economy driving prices up?  Or is it simply us and our contentment with streaming entertainment?  Why go see a ten dollar movie when you can sit back and binge watch Doctor Who while you fall asleep with one hand on the remote and the other in your pajamas?

Enough of the rant though.  Thanks for listening.

As a remake it’s difficult to measure up to the original, therefore, I will save us the time and my effort and come out and say no the remake of Carrie was not better than the original.  There, I said it.  Can we get on with it now?

For those who don’t know, Carrie stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) in the titular role as an awkward teenager who quickly discovers she has telekinetic abilities.  There’s bullies, and pigs blood, and prom, and you can pretty much guess what happens if you haven’t already seen the original starring Sissy Spacek back in 1976.  Julianne Moore (Game Change) plays Carrie’s ultra-religious and mentally disturbed mother, who just so happens to work at a quaint tailor shop – presumably in between calling people sinners and making friends.  Judy Greer (Archer) dons the role of the kindly gym teacher, who along with the principal apparently thinks that running laps is an appropriate way to punish someone for assault and battery.  You can see where this is heading…

I was genuinely excited to see director Kimberly Pierce back in action since her 1999 Academy Award winning film, Boys Don’t Cry.  Although I was looking forward to seeing what she could do with an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, I was also skeptical and felt she was an odd choice considering her film background.  However, I can see why writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was tapped due to his background as a staff writer for Glee and HBO’s Big Love.  You’ve got nasty teenagers and dysfunctional families, what more could the fellas over at Misher Films ask for in a writer?

While there were moments during Carrie that literally “wow’d” me, there were others that literally bored me.  From what I’ve seen from Glee and now Carrie, I think Sacasa is just guessing what modern American teenagers are like.  I seriously believe the man is stuck in the 80s with classic high school stereotypes.  The dumb jock, the evil queens, the kindly nerd with a camera who volunteers at the A/V department, it’s all stuff we’ve seen before and Sacasa makes no attempt at deviating from them.  There were times where it was so over-the-top, I felt like I was watching The Breakfast Club from Hell.

Speaking of stuff being just too much, Chloë Grace Moretz completely disappointed in her role.  She was excellent in Hugo and Let Me In, but it seems we might have over-estimated her abilities.  When she pretended to use her powers it looked as though she was rubbing a giant invisible ball, arms flailing wildly in the air, and I could literally pinpoint when she was being carried by a cable.  It felt unnatural and awkward, as did her performance which was like watching her on set reciting line after line.

Julianne Moore is great as always, in fact I’d go as far to say that she was the redeeming factor in the film.  Her character was a fascinating one, and ultimately made you question the merit of her instability.  She’s so terrible and even creepy that you just can’t wait until the next scene to watch her.

The film picked up some snickers from the audience every now and then, but the one thing that got me was the instant replay.  Watch it, you’ll know.

Visually it was beautiful, with haunting images of a bleeding Christ on the Crucifix to a certain someone’s face entering a car windshield.  With the exception of the cable problem, the visual effects team did an outstanding job.

Carrie is certainly worth a visit to the theaters, however, it’s certainly not without it’s issues.  So I’ll give it a good, but not great rating.  If you’re a Stephen King fan, the film is absolutely down your alley. But don’t expect any oscar-winning performances or scares, for Carrie had none of these things.

Planning on seeing the film?  Seen it already?  Let us know in the comments below.

3 / 5 stars     


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      1. Tiago October 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        Thanks for the review.
        I got one of those US$7.99 Carrie books with Chloë on the cover., gonna read it instead. Maybe catch this movie latter on blu ray.

      2. Jeff Carson October 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm

        More importantly, wish our theater sold beer!!

      3. david October 24, 2013 at 1:25 am

        But why even review this movie as a remake. Just review it on its own merits, everyone involved in the making of this movie, was inspired by the book, not the other movie. Pluss I think thats fair, Anyways, I heard its very good, both hold something original in the telling of the story.

      4. Morten Hillebert Bay November 18, 2013 at 12:25 am

        You are lucky you can watch movies for $10 a ticket. In Denmark the asking price is approximately double that… Many things are cheap in America. They only appear expensive because they were once even cheaper.
        Either way, I always enjoy your reviews, and I just wanted to throw in my two cultural cents.

      5. Jordan June 30, 2014 at 12:51 am

        Having read the original screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, I can safely say that the original script didn’t follow the same structure as the 1976 film. I will admit there were a few homages here and there, but it was a whole new take on the story. Before the film was delayed in January 2013, there was a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the first test screenings in December 2012. A number of people confirmed that the original cut was longer and a lot different than the theatrical cut. I remember watching a video on YouTube where two guys reviewed the film (without giving away spoilers) based on what they saw at the test screenings. They confirmed that the film was a lot different to Brian De Palma’s film and was more closer to the Stephen King novel. I personally believe that the studios interfered with the editing of the film. The theatrical cut wasn’t what Kimberly Peirce wanted to release in theatres. It’s like they re-cut the film and gave us a remake of Brian De Palma’s film. I knew it wasn’t Kimberly’s voice in the movie — it was the studios.

        A friend of mine, who is a filmmaker, gave their two cents as to what might have happened…

        The original cut was all ready to go in March, then the studios looked at the release date and thought they could make more money on “Carrie” during the Halloween season. So they demanded re-shoots and multiple re-edits to make it more Horror. It would explain why Lawrence D. Cohen (the writer of the 1976 film) was credited after the film was delayed — they re-shot a lot of scenes from the 1976 screenplay. The downside to the re-shoots and multiple re-edits is that a lot of scenes would have to be dropped or trimmed to fit the required running time by the studios. The shorter the film, the more viewing sessions the film has.

        Based on fan speculation, test audience feedback, and certain confirmed details concerning the film — the deleted and/or extended scenes include:

        -The original opening was a flashback of Carrie as a little girl spying through a fence on a female neighbor who is sunbathing. The young woman notices Carrie and starts to make conversation with her. Carrie tells her that she can see her “dirty pillows” and the neighbor explains to her that it is normal for women to develop breasts when they get older. That’s when Margaret White appears and snatches up Carrie, screaming and yelling at the neighbor. She calls the young lady a whore, telling her to stay away from her child, and Carrie gets upset and begins to cry. Suddenly, it starts hailing. Pellets of ice come down on top of Carrie’s home while Margaret runs into the house trying to console her daughter. The neighbor just stares in disbelief as the hail rains down on the White residence, and only the White residence.

        -The White Commission [The film had integrated several courtroom scenes with witnesses giving testimonies of their experiences with Carrie White leading to the prom incident, essentially structuring the film as a series of flashbacks and recollections. The neighbor from the alternate opening scene is shown at first, now an adult woman, recounting her experience. There is also a scene featuring a TK Specialist discussing telekinesis and saying something to the effect of Carrie being one of many people who may be born with this genetic anomaly. It’s been said that the White Commission scenes revealed too many prom survivors which the filmmaker’s felt spoiled the climax]

        -There was ‘found footage’ that played a role in the film. That’s why you see Freddy ‘Beak’ Holt carrying his camera around and filming everything.

        -There were scenes detailing more in depth character development.

        -There were scenes involving school life, social media and bullying.

        -There were scenes involving Facebook, the e-mail sent from Chris to Donna Kellogg. “So I’m out of prom and my [censored] father says he won’t give them what they deserve.”

        -”Wipe that smile off your face.” – Chris to Carrie at the pool.

        -The locker room scene [Extended] – Chris turning the cell-phone toward herself and the mean girls.

        -Chris and Tina kiss [Extended]

        -Tommy and Sue’s backseat sex scene [Extended]

        -Billy’s wild ride [The “blowjob scene” – similar to the 1976 version]

        -An interaction between Chris and Carrie outside the dress shop.

        -The confrontation between Sue and the mean girls.

        -Carrie levitates Margaret [Extended]

        -Drive to the pig farm [Extended]

        -After Tommy leaves the table to get some drinks, Carrie and Miss Desjardin have a friendly and meaningful conversation.

        -Carrie and Tommy kiss.

        -Billy kisses Chris.

        -Margaret claws her way out of the closet and goes over to the sink where she retrieves a butcher knife and cuts herself.

        -Sue tries to call Tommy from outside the school to warn him that something bad is about to happen. He rejects the call.

        -The prom scene as a whole, which was said to be longer and more violent than the theatrical version.

        -Tina on fire [Extended]

        -A scene or shot which reveals George Dawson’s and his girlfriend’s fate.

        -There were some really creepy stuff that was unfortunately cut during post-production, like some “dancing” dead students. My source is not completely certain about this detail or its placement within the film. But it was either in a deleted scene where Carrie snaps the limbs of prom-goers or during the electrocution scene which was supposed to be more graphic and longer. In the novel, it was described as a “crazy puppet dance”.

        -The scene of Carrie levitating outside of the burning school was actually re-shot. In the original version of that scene, Carrie was standing on the centre of the lawn, waiting for the remaining surviving students to come out of the burning school before killing them one by one with her telekinetic powers.

        -After Carrie leaves the school, she begins to destroy part of the town by causing explosions and bringing down power lines as she follows Billy and Chris. You can see the first few seconds of the town destruction from the aerial view. If you look closely behind Carrie, you can see that several cars are in flames.

        -When Sue is outside the school with Miss Desjardin, she sees Tommy’s body being carried out on a stretcher. Miss Desjardin tells Sue that she’s sorry and Sue walks away with determination to find Carrie.

        -Margaret’s original death scene – possibly similar to the book version which depicts a heart attack caused by Carrie’s power.

        -The multiple endings

        1) The first ending is very similar to the ending of the 1976 film but without the final twist: Sue Snell actually gets killed when Carrie pulls her into the ground.

        2) The second ending is an exact replica of the original film where Snell gets pulled into the ground by Carrie but wakes up in her bed to find it’s just a dream.

        3) The third ending is after Carrie saves Sue by pushing her out of the house, which collapses from the falling stones. There’s a bird’s eye view of the wreckage of what used to be Carrie’s home before we get a quick CGI zoom through a pit of debris, to a close-up of a now bloodied Carrie snapping her eyes open.

        4) The fourth ending is of Sue making a final speech to the court where she says the line heard in the teaser trailer about Carrie being just a girl, not a monster. This is spoken over scenes of Sue and her family visiting the cemetery. Sue goes to Carrie’s grave, which shows the headstone tagged up and vandalized. She leaves her flowers and just walks away. Nothing scary, just a very somber closing shot of the headstone.

        5) The fifth ending is after Carrie’s house is destroyed by the falling stones, the movie flashes forward to several months later. We see Sue in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses, ready to give birth. They’re trying to calm her down but Sue begins to struggle, saying she feels something is wrong. Suddenly, a very bloody hand (covered in afterbirth) erupts from between Sue’s legs, reaching up and gripping her arm. She screams in terror and we see that she is having a nightmare, being held down by her parents while the camera pans over to a wall where we are shown a large crucifix hanging in her room.

        6) The sixth ending is described as a “morning after voice over” by Sue Snell as we see the town coping with what happened.

        7) The seventh ending shows the town the morning after Carrie’s attack filled with news crews, reporters, and cops talking about the whole thing. What’s bizarre about this scene is that Carrie’s destruction of the city is being described as “a conspiracy.” Apparently the town is “trying to cover up what really happened.”

        There is an online petition for a Director’s Cut to be released, but, let’s face it, the studios won’t release one. The petition has gained over 6,000+ signatures (I think?), so I’m curious to see how that will turn out.