This reinterpretation of the classic horror film based on the Steven King novel has everything you would expect from the original, amplified by modern effects and added elements that make this film feel fresh and new and linked to current issues of cyberbullying.
NOTE: I have never seen any earlier versions of this film, but I certainly know of the story. So unfortunately, I don’t have an accurate frame of reference for this film and its predecessors, I can only comment on it as someone watching it with fresh, unbiased eyes.
I think the acting in this film is fantastic. The great Julianne Moore plays a perfect psychopath mother, and everything she does, from subtly hurting herself and singing old church songs to wielding a knife to her daughter multiple times is terrifically creepy and frightening. In other movies, seeing a ghost or spirit walk by and disappear before the victim can see it is pretty chilling, but I’d argue that it’s even scarier with someone that’s alive and clearly deranged. I feared for Carrie every time she entered that house. Speaking of which, I think Chloë Grace Moretz was an excellent choice for the title role. After being so used to her beating the hell out of people in the Kick-Ass films, it’s a bit odd to see her so vulnerable in this movie, but she plays it well. Her fear and frustration feel very genuine, and when she starts discovering her powers and what she is capable of, it’s frightening yet satisfying to see her slowly start to lose it. Portia Doubleday does a great job playing the most despicable, evil, ruthless mean girl ever to appear on screen, Chris Hargensen. I could not wait to see her pay for all the hell she (and her equally psychotic boyfriend Billy Nolan, played by Alex Russell) put Carrie through. I’ve never seen anyone so hellbent for another person’s destruction, it’s almost as terrifying as Carrie and her mother. Gabriella Wilde does a fine job playing Sue Snell, the girl with a conscious that tries to make-up for her sins against Carrie, as does Ansel Elgort, who plays the ill-fated Tommy Ross, who simply wants to help Carrie feel normal for one night. Lastly, Judy Greer departs from her normally comedic roles to play Coach Desjardin, a woman who also sees the suffering of Carrie and just wants to help her out.
This movie has always been about a poor girl getting bullied, but I think the little additions to the film help to make it relevant for the bullying currently going on today. Chris posts a video of Carrie screaming for help on the bathroom floor, exposing her suffering and humiliation to thousands of people, and this same video is later displayed to everyone at the prom. This kind of bullying (though maybe not always to this extreme extent) is something that countless kids unfortunately suffer through today, so it made it feel more relevant to me. What also brought this movie to modern times was the enhanced special effects, which made her revenge that much more horrific, especially that against her most hated enemy Chris. Seeing the getaway car being crushed in some sort of force field in front of Carrie was impressive and frightening, and seeing exactly how Chris dies, in slow motion, is shocking, yet oddly satisfying. The films ends with hints of a sequel, and to be honest I wouldn’t mind seeing more psychic Hit-Girl action!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 8/10
A thrilling horror film that shows what happens when you push people too far. Some of the dialogue can be a bit forced at times, but the acting is great, and coupled with awesome special effects is a great way, in my opinion, to bring this classic film to contemporary audiences. Definitely worth a look at if you like horror films, though if any of you have seen the previous film(s), I’d love to hear what you think about in comparison! Feel free to comment below!