The ultimate msfit is back, and she's just as mean as she was 37 years ago.
Director: Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry)
Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen (Carrie), Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa from the Stephen King novel
Cast: Julianne Moore (Don Jon), Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Runtime: 100 min
by John DeSando
“The other kids, they think I'm weird. But I don't wanna be, I wanna be normal. I have to try and be a whole person before it’s too late.” Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz)
Well, she can’t seem to overcome the weirdness. Carrie in either its 1976 Brian De Palma form or 2013 Kimberly Peirce remake does not subtly tackle teenage angst about fitting in and dealing with rambunctious genes. While Peirce’s version deals with the same issues, it lacks the vulnerable but other-worldly persona of Sissy Spacek in the titular role. Moretz is appropriately introverted and scared, but Spacek exudes strangeness and demonic presence better.
Most of the shenanigans, from Carrie’s first menstruation in the girls’ shower—aided by the modern smart phone recording and publishing the event—to the pig’s blood-bath, are an integral part of this genre-creating horror feast and religiously replicated today.
The Stephen King story remains an over-the-top depiction of bullying by peers and mother. Joanna Moore, as a delightful witch of a mom almost over acting, says, “You know the devil never dies, keeps coming back. But you gotta keep killing him.”
The imperatives of biology are omnipresent in this current version. Moreover, the story still reflects the ever-present cruelties and the longing for retribution by the powerless teen victim.
The film emphasizes the misfit teen’s awareness of her mother’s obsession with purity and Carrie’s impure conception. The Christian imagery suggests the corrupt values of zealous religiosity. Additionally, the blood motif ironically juxtaposes Jesus’ sacrifice with the secular symbol of violence and death.
The telekinetic heroine is the center of the bloody business, a sweet combination of weak and vengeful. Although this new version of Carrie may lack the inventiveness of the original (The ‘70’s are also home to The Exorcist, after all), it still makes you aware of the harrowing, narrow world of a teenager.
As for the different decades in which Carrie is shown, her mother says it best: “These are godless times.” Pretty much anytime, I’d say.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com