Carrie (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/11/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

This is a watchable, if largely forgettable remake that too often feels like a missed opportunity – the performances, direction and effects are all decent enough, but it lacks the visceral impact of the 1976 film.

What's it all about?
Directed by Kimberly Peirce (who made Boys Don't Cry), Carrie is a de facto remake of Brian De Palma's 1976 horror classic, based on the novel by Stephen King (the filmmakers claim it's not a remake, but they're not fooling anyone). Chloe Grace Moretz stars as Carrie White, a lonely, outcast teenager who's had a sheltered upbringing thanks to her religious fanatic mother Margaret (Julianne Moore).

When Carrie gets her first period in the school showers, it's a traumatic experience, made all the worse by mean girl Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), who leads her friends in taunting Carrie and films the whole thing on her phone. However, the onset of puberty has given Carrie telekinetic powers and when Chris plays a horrific prank on Carrie at the school prom, she wreaks violent and bloody revenge.

The Good
Moretz is effective when she's telekinetically kicking ass in the final act of the film but she's less than convincing as a timid outcast and she overacts the opening scenes to a distracting degree. By contrast, Moore is excellent as Margaret (one superbly shot self-harming scene is the most disturbing moment in the film) and there's strong support from Judy Greer (as sympathetic teacher Miss Desjardin), Gabriella Wilde (as Sue Snell, a kind-hearted student who takes pity on Carrie) and Ansel Elgort as Tommy, Sue's boyfriend, who's persuaded to take Carrie to the prom as a gesture of friendship.

Peirce handles the effects-heavy climactic sequence effectively, though it still comes across as more of a cool superpowers moment than the full-on, out-of-control horror of DePalma's version. That said, there are a handful of memorable images, courtesy of cinematographer Steve Yedlin.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it frequently feels like a missed opportunity – for example, the camera-phone filming of the bullying and the subsequent uploading to YouTube feel like they're only there to update the film to the present day, rather than make any pertinent comment on cyber-bullying. In addition, the characters feel under-developed, something that's exacerbated by Carrie's relative lack of dialogue.

On top of that, there are a handful of glaring continuity errors, two of which (one involving Carrie's hair, one involving a number of objects) are so in-your-face obvious that they end up taking you out of the film.

Worth seeing?
As remakes go, Carrie is passable enough, but the film doesn't do enough to distinguish itself and it lacks the dramatic and emotional impact of DePalma's 1976 original. Disappointing final shot, too.

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Content updated: 23/01/2019 23:39

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