Just been watching…(26)

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.)

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35 thoughts on “Just been watching…(26)

    1. I only watched it yesterday, and I have already forgotten her. (And the others, except Moore.) But you are young, so were not around for the original of course. I suppose that’s why they have remakes! Perhaps they should just re-issue the earlier film?
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I very much enjoyed watching the original, although I was not even a flicker of a thought in the Universe at the point of it’s release. Original horrors really do seem to be more scary. Point in case, Tex Chainsaw Massacre. Don’t know why they feel the need to remake them all modernised and… cheesy. With stupid, one dimensional characters. Maybe my generation is just stupid and one dimensional.. is that what Hollywood’s trying to tell us?

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        1. I doubt you are typical of the film-goers in your generation. Checking in on Facebook, taking selfies with their popcorn buckets, slurping their waste-basket sized drinks, and monitoring their updates on mobiles during the film. Some of the reasons why I never go to a multiplex. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I think I have seen this on Polish TV, a sure sign that it was a massive failure at the box office and indeed in our living room. I must look for the original though as I cant remember seeing it, despite reading the book in my teens.

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  2. Pete, I have the original “Carrie” (1976) on DVD, and have enjoyed watching it on several occasions. I had zero interest in the remake (2013). The only remakes in recent memory that I’ve watched are “True Grit” (1969/2010) and “Psycho” (1960/1998). The “Psycho” remake was unusual in that Universal decided to mimic the original. Still, it wasn’t as good as Hitchcock’s classic (ironically, but justifiably, Hitchcock remade one of his own films, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” [1934/1956]).

    There have been a handful of remakes that, in my opinion, have been worth their salt. Three examples would be “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956/1978), “Cape Fear” (1962/1991), and “King Kong” (1933/1976/2005).But, in general, remakes (re-imaginings, reboots, etc.) are inferior to the original on whose title they wish to capitalize. Admittedly, I’ve given almost none of them a viewing, so my opinion is based mainly on reviews. I had no interest in seeing the remakes of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951/2008), “The Flight of the Phoenix” (1965/2004), “The Omen” (1976/2006), or RoboCop (1987/2014), let alone “Fantastic Four” (2005/2015), “Ben-Hur” (1959/2016) or “The Magnificent Seven” (1960/2016).

    They are now developing a remake of “Cleopatra” (1934/1963/2018?). I would imagine the sea battles will be far more spectacular, thanks to modern special effects wizardry, but the cast, albeit solid, won’t be nearly as spectacular (seriously, who can better Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison?). Also, if Sony shrinks the running time from four hours to, say, two and one-half, in order to accommodate modern day audiences with short attention spans, then the remake will lose its epic quality.

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    1. David, thanks as always for your considered reply. I was one of a few who didn’t care for the remake of ‘True Grit’ by the Cohen Brothers. Kim Darby made the original for me, and trying to add serious overtones to the new version made it feel like a very different film. ‘Cape Fear’ worked well, because of de Niro being a very different Max Cady, and the young Juliette Lewis was outstanding.
      The old Fay Wray version of King Kong still gets my vote, though modern technology rendered a convincing Kong in the later films. Although I prefer the 1956 version of ‘Body Snatchers’, Donald Sutherland was excellent in the remake.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Hahahaha there were times at school that I would have liked to have had her powers Pete (just for a couple of minutes) :0) I like reading Stephen King, but they very rarely seem to be able to do the books justice when they make the films.

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    1. Very true, Kate. We all imagine the characters in different ways as readers. If the casting is ‘wrong’ when we see the film, then it never feels right. ‘I thought the film of ‘Cujo’ was like that, but I will say that ‘Misery’ worked well on screen, at least for me.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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