Carrie (2013) A remake.
***Spoilers are included*** (Sorry, but it is necessary…)
Many years ago now, I read the Stephen King novel, ‘Carrie’. It was a powerful modern horror story, set in the American High School system, and concerned a disturbed young girl who is born with demonic powers that manifest themselves in the form of destructive telekinesis. I enjoyed the book a lot, and had no trouble picturing the events described.
Nonetheless, the film rights were taken up, and in 1976, we were treated to a big-budget horror film, based on King’s book. It starred Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, and the estimable Piper Laurie. I went along to the cinema to see it, and as someone who had read the book, I was not at all disappointed. Spacek was perfectly cast as the young Carrie; vulnerable, disturbed, and devoid of friends at school. She is taunted by her cruel classmates, and her naive innocence is exploited by them too, as they exclude her, make fun of her, and generally make her life a misery.
The story plays out much as it did in the book, and we are shown the exciting ‘reveal’ in the last seconds too. All in all, it was worth watching, had suitable shocks, and was a cut above many so-called ‘horror films’ around at the time. Enough said. Put it into the archive, appreciate the odd TV showing, and remember the good bits.
But no. There had to be a remake, and this is a review of that lamentable effort.
In 2013, the cinematic powers that be decided that this story was ripe for updating, and approved a modern version, ridiculously called a ‘re-imagining’. The cast is and was forgettable, with the exception of the usually excellent Julianne Moore. She plays Carrie’s religious maniac mother, and I can only presume that on this occasion, she was ‘taking the money’. She certainly lost brownie points with me, for even showing her face.
The story continues much as before, but this time, we have the addition of modern technology. Mobile phone videos, and Facebook posts, are used to add more power to Carrie’s humiliation. She has been secluded by her mother, who has always suspected her unusual powers. Moore’s character has resorted to house-arrest and seclusion to keep her daughter away from the world, including shutting her in a closet. But the world catches up with Carrie, when she fails to understand why she is bleeding from a period, during a shower after swimming. (That a girl of her age would be so surprised by having a period at all is not explained.)
After the school becomes involved, and disciplines the girls responsible, one of them asks her handsome boyfriend to escort Carrie to the school Prom Night, as she feels guilty about her involvement. Carrie eventually agrees, and uses her powers to imprison her mother, so she can go to the dance. But her enemies have other ideas, and when she is about to be crowned Prom Queen, they tip a bucket of pig’s blood over her. This enrages the girl, and she calls upon her powers to wreak havoc, managing to kill or maim all of her fellow pupils in the process.
So that is pretty much that. Not that different to the far superior original film, and with a forgettable cast, who act by the numbers as if they are in a reality TV show. Therefore, I am left asking, why?
This film cost $30 million dollars to make. Money that could have been spent on something worthwhile, like a new hospital wing, a school for children with learning difficulties, even foreign aid. Instead, it was spent on a totally pointless, talent-less, and ultimately forgettable remake of a film that was not exactly ground-breaking, even in 1976. Watch it at your peril. You have been warned. If you really want to see it, even after reading this, then choose the Sissy Spacek version.
Here’s a trailer. (Don’t even bother to watch it.)