The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Movie review: ‘Carrie’

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  • Three things crossed my mind during the end credits to the remake of Brian De Palmas 1976 adaptation of Stephen Kings book Carrie: a memory of Gus Van Sants 1998 remake of Psycho, the phrase What for? and a strong belief that this versions director, Kimberly Peirce, blew the ending.
    Psycho was boasted of as being a frame-for-frame remake of the Hitchcock classic, and it actually was. And though this Carrie isnt exactly a frame-for-framer, its close enough to tie right into that second thought: What for? Why remake a movie without adding anything new or improved? Both films took Kings book about a terribly shy loner of a girl, raised by a single mom who is so twisted by her religious beliefs shes sure that everybody but her and her daughter is one, big collective devil.
    Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her mom Margaret (Julianne Moore) are nice pieces of acting, but a lot of people saw the first film, and there will be comparisons. Moretz doesnt appear to be quite as haunted as Sissy Spacek did the first time around, nor does Moore seem quite as seriously whacked as Piper Laurie. Both are damaged goods, but Mom almost revels in that fact, while Carrie the object of ridicule and scorn in her senior year in high school, and likely for many years before is desperate to be thought of as normal. Normalcy, of course, shouldnt involve Mom regularly shoving her into a cramped closet space to pray for her soul, but thats the life the Bible-thumping Mom has handed to her. Mom also works as a seamstress, and has an affinity for sharp objects, to be used as weapons on others or to matter-of-factly abuse her own skin.
    The film gets down to business quickly with a faithful recreation of the originals infamous girls locker room shower scene which, since it takes place in a high school, gives new meaning to the term first period. It also swiftly sets up the relationships between innocent, naive Carrie and the students and faculty members that eventually trigger the powers she didnt know she had.
    For those who dont know the book and havent seen the first film, the only important bit to be revealed here is that shes capable of telekinesis, and other manifestations of the ability to move objects with the mind. But dont make her angry. You wouldnt like her when shes angry.
    The story is really a study of cruelty of bullies and self-centered (or disturbed) individuals who would have others follow their way and only their way. Lord knows (oops, a religious reference) that teens have a tough enough time dealing with everyday life without these kinds of complications.
    Page 2 of 2 - Carries main foe (after her crazy mom) is Chris (Portia Doubleday), the schools main mean girl, who has made a target of Carrie just because shes kind of different. We also get a befuddled and wimpy school principal, a concerned gym teacher, another mean girl who turns good, and Carrie who, driven to extremes, soon discovers, researches, and starts practicing her powers against those who would do her harm. Our protagonist goes from being miserable to becoming happy to turning into one of those characters that makes a horror story a horror story.
    A quick apology for saying that theres nothing new about this version. The shower scene is caught on a smartphone and posted on the Web, and Dancing with the Stars gets a shout out. Other than that its familiar territory less gothic and gaudy than De Palmas and just a little more over the top in visual effects of mayhem.
    The third thing that crossed my mind was the problem with the ending. Suffice it to say, the originals caught audiences off guard. We got something we werent expecting, resulting in a wonderful communal scream. This one sets up the same ending, then pulls the rug out from under us. The audience I saw it with reacted with a communal groan.
    Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
    Written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; directed by Kimberly Peirce
    With Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne More, Judy Greer
    Rated R