Carrie ★★★

I have a litany of criticisms over how this film fails to improve on the original, but I don’t think I need to list them all here. Suffice it to say, I find the casting dreadful. Chloe Grace Moretz is great, but this is one role she really isn’t suited to play. In the book, Carrie is an unattractive outcast. In the original film, she’s not unattractive, but definitely different and other compared to the popular clique. Here, she looks no different from the others—perhaps that’s what the film is going for, though. By including the cyberbullying aspect (which doesn’t feel authentic in the least), the film seems to be sending the message that bullying of this sort is not relegated to the past. Unfortunately, most of the bullying in this story, like throwing tampons and dumping pig’s blood, are things that would not likely take place in the present day. They feel forced. Why use this source material at all? It’s just a cash grab looking to capitalize on the name recognition—that’s upsetting. 

Julianne Moore brings a unique vision to the role of the mother and would be great if this were a reimagining of her story, or even the events through her perspective. That would at least give this movie more of a reason to exist (but I would want to change the title in that case, as it would no longer be Carrie’s story). As it is, she detracts from the central theme, especially in having her birthing sequence start the film rather than Carrie’s period trauma. It messes up the bloody bookends of the narrative. 

Okay then, with all my criticisms, why still rate it positively? Well, it’s better than I recall the 2002 version being, and I have that at two and a half stars. It’s still a good story and the climax is exhilarating regardless of who films it and how they portray it (although the original is definitely best).

I’m really curious to know what it’s like to watch this without any knowledge of its previous iterations, but alas, I can never know what that is like. I find this watchable—if I ever see it more removed from my viewing of the original film, I think I could lay my criticisms aside and enjoy it on its own merits. I’m not particularly eager for that to occur, though. Why watch this when the original is right there?

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