Film Review: Carrie (2013)

After the classic 1976 horror film, Carrie starring Sissy Spacek proved to be a brilliant visual portrayal of Stephen King’s novel, it seemed hard to imagine a modern version achieving the same success. As a result, it is hard to review this new film without comparing it to the original.

Chloe Grace Moretz convincingly plays the main character, Carrie White, going from a shy, lonely, dowdy, outcast to prom queen, in Stephen King’s ‘dark modernisation of Cinderella’. Only, this fairy-tale has a horrifying ending. A prank by school bullies, aimed to humiliate Carrie at the prom, backfires hideously. Carrie’s rage unleashes her telekinetic powers and her desire to ruthlessly massacre anybody who has ever harassed her and laughed at her. Just like the original story, the iconic pig’s-blood dumping scene becomes a key feature of the film, proving to be just as shocking as it was back in 1976.

Carrie (2013) accurately demonstrates the bullying Carrie White suffered throughout her time at high school, except, this version adds cyber-bullying to the story. The ring leader and notorious school bully, Chris Hargensen, used her mobile phone to make a video of the original, embarrassing incident that happened to Carrie in the girls’ shower room, and posted it on YouTube. Years on, the bullying still remains an important issue in the story, but now, technology worsens the public humiliation of Carrie, only to make her final revenge against her tormentors seem more deserved.

Leading up to the fateful prom night, Carrie was not even free from bullying at home. For her entire life, she bore the brunt of her manipulative and abusive mother’s anger.  After 37 years, the character of Margaret White (Carrie’s mother) is no less frightening or domineering. Julianne Moore successfully depicts an insane, religious fanatic, driven to self-destruction by her own delusions about sin and female sexualisation. Carrie’s birth, described in the novel, but not featured in the 1976 film, is the opening scene of Carrie (2013). This acknowledges that, in the book Margaret had tried to kill her new-born daughter fearing she was evil, but then stopped out of love and spared Carrie’s life. All versions of the story illustrate a battle of wills within a complex mother, daughter relationship, ending in the aftermath of a tragic event.

Personally, I think the creators of this new film have certainly done justice to both the book, and the original 1976 film, despite having very high standards to measure up to. Carrie fans should definitely see this new adaptation and form their own opinions.

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