By HOPE RACINE
The 2013 “Carrie” remake opens with a scream as the audience watches Carrie’s mother (Julianne Moore) giving birth alone in her house. Moore’s character seems completely unaware of the fact that she is pregnant, and an awkward and uncomfortable scene unfolds as she prays her way through a gory delivery.
Disturbing and gruesome as it may be, the scene set the tone for the movie perfectly: eerie, bloody and slightly painful to watch.
The reboot of the 1976 horror film, based off of the hit novel by Stephen King, was released last weekend to mixed reviews. While critics believe the film stayed true to the spirit of the original movie, it lacked the scare factor of its predecessor.
The remake does follow the initial movie closely, deviating little except to make it more modern or relevant. Take, for example, the infamous shower scene where Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) experiences her first period while in the gym class locker room. The pack mentality and reaction of the girls was far more believable in the 2013 version than in the original. Where the first film shows the girls blindly attacking Carrie, the reboot starts with an innocent enough gesture, which then spirals slowly into a vicious attack.
The remake takes advantage of modern technology and adds a new dimension when one of Carrie’s tormentors video tapes the scene and puts it online.
While some characters in the film, notably Carrie, her mother, and the gym teacher, portrayed great character depth and dimension, others fell flat. By far the most complex figure in the film, Moore portrayed Carrie’s mother as a self-harming, lonely religious fanatic.
One scene shows her forcing Carrie into a closet to pray away her sins, and, in the next, Moore strokes her daughter’s head and braids her hair with a gentleness and love that only a mother could possess. It would have been easy to dismiss the character as a religious nut bag, and play it accordingly, but Moore brought a surprising motivation to the character.
Take this in comparison to the main villain, mean girl Chris (Portia Doubleday), who in her spite and rage is so one-dimensional that she serves no other role in the movie other than to be the person everyone hopes dies first. Beside the conflicted and confused Carrie, Doubleday falls flat and seems out of place in the otherwise dynamic film.
The best scene of the film, the climatic and infamous prom scene, was done beautifully. Moretz moves like a dancer while harnessing her telekinetic powers to cause mass destruction at her prom. However, these fluid movements, and the fact that Moretz is still beautiful even under a layer of pig blood, make her far less terrifying than her predecessor, played by Sissy Spacek in the 1976 original.
The film also offers intriguing and contrasting views of feminity and empowerment. The original storyline discusses the association between womanhood and evil, and by having Carrie’s powers arrive along with puberty, the connection is strengthened. While her mother associates Carrie’s burgeoning womanhood with sin and impurity, the powers that come along with her puberty give her the abilities to fight against those who have hurt her.
“Please don’t hurt me,” one character begs of her. Deadpan, Carrie looks back. “Why? People have been hurting me all my life.”
It is this knowledge that leaves audiences rooting for Carrie to finish her mass destruction and fly off into the sunset. But the main point of the movie is that happy endings do not necessarily exist.
“Carrie” leaves audiences uncomfortable but falls short of imparting any lasting fear. However, in the spirit of the Halloween season, “Carrie” will definitely entertain audiences from start to end.