News

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

MOVIE REVIEW: Updated ‘Carrie’ stays true to the book

'CARRIE' STILL SCARY: Julianne Moore (left), Kimberly Peirce,Chloë Grace Moretz (right) at the "Carrie" premiere. Photo: WENN

By: George Wolf

Back in ’76, Brian De Palma brought Stephen King’s first novel, “Carrie,” to the screen and a terrifying vision of persecution and comeuppance emerged.

But that was almost 25 years before Columbine, and the image of the bullied and confused wreaking bloody revenge at a high school has taken on a different tenor.

That’s no doubt why King’s tale made its way to television in 2002 with a fresh take on the horror.

But things in high school have changed again, and the story of Carrie White takes on particular tragedy in a wired time where another innocent high school girl takes her life almost weekly due to bullying. Perhaps that’s what drew filmmaker Kimberly Pierce, whose “Boys Don’t Cry” also outlines the tragedy that befalls a young woman violently unaccepted for who she is.

In Pierce’s hands, “Carrie” offers more stripped-down drama – none of the scenery chewing of the De Palma original. There’s no humor to be found in the reboot, but realistic performances and updated context give the film enough bite to keep you watching.

Chloe Grace Moretz takes on lead duties as the youngster whose first monthly flow triggers all manner of havoc, from the most unconscionable bullying to telekenetic powers. Oh, and her mom tries to kill her. So, not the blessing those Health Ed books try to say it is.

Moretz has a big prom dress to fill, and though she has always been a reliable talent, her turn here is unconvincing. Sissy Spacek truly was that innocent, a girl so repressed by her religious mother that she had no conscious knowledge of appropriate social behavior. Moretz is a cute, shy girl the mean kids dislike. It’s not the same.

The always exquisite Julianne Moore actually has an even larger task cut out for her.

The role of Margaret White is a juicy one. Even the TV version drew the great Patricia Clarkson to the project. And Moore is characteristically strong, clearly defining role in a terrifying yet almost sympathetic way. But she’s no Piper Laurie.

Laurie brought such vitality and insanity to the role that the prom became almost secondary, and her chemistry with Spacek was eerily perfect.
The supporting cast of high schoolers is fairly unimpressive, though the ever-reliable Judy Greer adds some fresh depth to the role of Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher.

This “Carrie” is a bit more faithful to the book, and actually delivers a more violent, bloody finale than the original film, which seems to fit with the tensions of today.

The updated context casts a truly saddening shadow over the film, making a major thematic adjustment without even trying. Stephen King wrote a story about hysteria over the dawning of womanhood. But today, the story carries an even darker message. “Carrie” is a cautionary tale about sending your kids to high school.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec 22

pearljam

A look at the Hollywood headlines that made history.

in Sports

Documents: QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared of the allegations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing this month.

in Sports

NFL playoffs rounding into shape & week 16 scoreboard

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) takes the hand off from quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.

All the scores from week 16 in the NFL.

in Sports

No. 1 Kentucky scores first 24 points, beats UCLA

From left, Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, Tyler Ulis, and head coach John Calipari pause for a moment during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Kentucky won 84-70.

Devin Booker had 19 points, and No. 1 Kentucky scored the game's first 24 points in an 83-44 victory over UCLA on Saturday.

in Sports

Washington & San Diego secure wins on Saturday

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) looks for a receiver during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chargers won the game 41-38.

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the brink of elimination from the playoff race after a 27-24 loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday.

Bellingham Traffic