Thursday, 10 July 2014

Carrie (2013)

"You will know her name" was the tagline used to advertise Carrie, which kind of highlights the whole problem with the film. Any horror fan already DOES know her name, from either the source novel (by Stephen King), or the original movie, or the belated sequel, or even the OTHER remake. Let's not mention the stage musical. Which means that Carrie is a film pushed/marketed towards younger viewers, or perhaps even non-horror fans.

It all starts off with a bit of unnecessary unpleasantness as we get to see Julianne Moore endure an unexpected home birth, welcoming Carrie White into the world. Moving forward many years, Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is now in high school. She's not that popular, and it probably doesn't help that her mother is a strict religious zealot. Things come to a head when Carrie is surprised by her first period while showering. She has never been told about the changes that her body will go through. While needing help, and being terrified, the other girls simply taunt and humiliate her. As well as the usual changes that young women go through, Carrie also finds that she has a unique talent for telekinesis. Studying up on the subject, Carrie decides to develop her powers. Meanwhile, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) is one of the few young women feeling bad for her part in mocking Carrie, and convinces her boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort), to take the poor lass to the prom. Mean Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), however, plans to make sure that the night is memorable for all the wrong reasons.

While it felt redundant to surmise the plot in that previous paragraph, it seems most appropriate for this review. Because the main word to use in describing Carrie is redundant. Writers Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa bring nothing new to the table, because there's nothing else to be siphoned from the story. Director Kimberly Peirce then makes everything worse by throwing around a load of unnecessary, though not unexpected, CGI and by the poor choices that she makes with the direction given to the cast.

Oh, that cast. I actually feel quite sorry for most of the people involved here. One fantastic cameo from Hart Bochner aside, the cast all have the potential to be great in their roles, but are largely wasted by the script and inept direction. Doubleday wasn't great in the role of Chris, but Wilde and Elgort were both perfectly fine as the two youngsters trying to give Carrie one great night out. Greer comes out of it best, portraying a sympathetic P.E. teacher without overdoing it. The same can't be said of Moore and Moretz, unfortunately. The former pitches her performance in line with the original turn by Piper Laurie, so that's not so bad, but Moretz is asked to portray Carrie in full telekinetic mode as someone twitching their head around and making wiggly hand movements like someone overacting at a Harry Potter LARP event. She's great with the other aspects of the role, portraying the sweetness, shyness and general insecurities of the character with ease, but the last 20-30 minutes leave her flailing, literally.

Yet, as much as it angered and frustrated me, I still found enough individual moments in Carrie to stop me from completely hating it. I couldn't say that it ever even reached the level of average, but the cast helped it to stay away from the very bottom of the barrel. They just couldn't stop it from being so, and you have already guessed my next word, redundant.


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