Do you smell that? That smell, gravediggers and undertakers, is the death of Summer and the birth of Autumn. The smell that signals the approaching celebration that is Halloween. Continuing our annual tradition, Geekade has something special planned for you all, but in the meantime, your monthly Macabre Movie Mausoleum comes to you with another new edition.
Today we look at “Carrie,” a Stephen King classic put to screen for the second time (that counts). Upon its release, the movie had supporters and detractors, read on to see where the not-so-good doctor weighs in…
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, and Gabriella Wilde
Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of both Moore and Moretz. And I’m an even bigger fan of Stephen King, so the three of these together, I expected big things. Of course, because this is an adaptation, they took some liberties, many of which were slight modernizations from a book written in the 70’s. But the essence of the story is mostly intact.
Earlier in the year, we had Chloe Grace Moretz kill it on screen as Hit-Girl, and now, seeing her as Carrie is kind of a mind fuck, but she absolutely owned the titular role. With a handful of horror movies under her belt when she was younger, I hope she continues doing films in the genre as she hones her craft more and more after every film. She is truly a modern day scream queen, and we can use more with her acting abilities.
Julianne Moore, always a delight on screen, was scary as Carrie’s mom, and that’s the highest compliment I could bestow. Her fanaticism and righteous anger were mesmerizing. Although, I will admit part of me is curious to see how Sissy Spacek (the original Carrie) would have handled the role and it would have been nice to have that homage to the original movie, but I understand the director wanting to distance her movie from the inevitable comparisons. Regardless Julianne Moore was excellent in portraying the religious bigot that is Mrs White.
One of the biggest drawbacks though, was the antagonist. Played by Portia Doubleday, the character ‘Chris’ was an unbelievable portrayal of a bully. One of the aforementioned ways the movie was updated was to include cyber bullying as a weapon Chris used to torment Carrie. I’ll leave it for other reviews that commented ad nauseam about the links between the movie and bullying in the real world, but I will say the leaps and bounds in logic the character takes don’t come off as even remotely “real world.”
Another fault I found is the ending, not only is it a drastic change from the novel. Instead of Carrie killing her mother and then dying in the arms of her only friend, this version has a heavy-handed metaphor of being stoned to death for her sins. There were other changes that I don’t feel added or took anything away from the movie, but this seemed as out of place as making Carrie able to fly instead of communicating telepathically.
On to the rating…
If you allow yourself to understand that this isn’t an exact recreation of the novel, you will enjoy the movie. It had several faults, some more grievous than others, but any movie with Julian Moore, Chloe Grace Moretz and Judy Greer can’t be all bad.
Director Kimberly Peirce, who is best (perhaps only) known for “Boys Don’t Cry”, tried to faithfully adapt a Stephen King novel and simultaneously make a social commentary about bullying and gender roles. At times she succeeded with one, and at times she succeeded with the other, but I don’t think she ever succeeded with both at the same time.