2016.75: Carrie (Film Four HD)
We get the films that we deserve, and this one surely is a prime example of where films are right now. When horror fans heard about this remake of Carrie I guess most rolled their eyes in disgust at Hollywood’s ability to reboot/remake absolutely anything for the mighty dollar, and in all honesty this film really doesn’t further the argument for the validity of such remakes.
It can’t be denied though that there is a morbid fascination in watching them. Throughout it feels simply unnecessary, a pale shadow of the 1976 De Palma film- with its use of social media, Internet and mobile phones it is certainly bringing it up to date for the modern cinema crowd, but I don’t think it really has anything new to say. Maybe I’m missing the point- I never read the original Stephen King book so I cannot say that this film is any more faithful to it than the De Palma film. Something feels wrong though; the film seems to race by, hurtling towards that inevitable Prom Night horror that everyone will recall from the original film. And its there that the film finally implodes. Suddenly it seems to realise it isn’t a horror film at all, but a superhero movie.
Maybe its the intention all along, but there aren’t really any scares in this film at all, and when Carrie finally unleashes her powers she is less a reluctant nightmare than an avenging superhero- she just lacks the fancy costume or cape. She unleashes her powers with balletic grace, arms gracefully performing arcs in the air, looking like a bloodied Scarlet Witch from a Marvel film, and it suddenly dawns on me that I’ve been watching an origin movie for a Stephen King Marvel comic. Indeed, I’m almost surprised we haven’t since seen a Carrie 2 being announced (I guess this didn’t do too well at the box office).
Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie is fine, although perhaps a bit too pretty to really qualify as a nerdish Outsider who has been socially maladjusted by a crazy mother. I guess she gains our empathy well enough and has our sympathy, but, well, she just looks too pretty. I always thought the whole thing about Carrie was that she didn’t stand out in a crowd, that she could pass by unnoticed like she was never even there, but Moretz is just too pretty, with too much screen charisma, to really carry any of that off. She’s a beautiful actress playing a lowly Plain Jane/Outsider and it always feels like it- its not her fault, but Moretz simply glows in everything she is in, and does so here.
Julianne Moore, playing her crazy mom, is, well, suitably unhinged/borderline maniac, veering a bit too far over that line that Jack Nicholson crossed in The Shining. There’s an intimation that she is real the victim, but we lack any prologue showing her own youth and how she became corrupted (pregnant) and how this impacted her, or how her own upbringing (in a highly religious background?) may have dominated her- maybe the book delves into this, but the film doesn’t. From the very start she is batshit crazy, thinking her pregnancy is cancer until the baby pops out, and even then she’s inclined to stab it to death with her scissors.
Carrie never has a chance to be normal. But a super hero? I don’t know. Maybe there’s just too many popcorn blockbuster superhero films theses days, and too much reliance on spectacle over characters and drama, that it was inevitable that this film went this route. Maybe the filmmakers thought it was the best way to differentiate it from the 1976 film. Maybe I was expecting a different movie. Its not a bad film, just not the film I thought it would be, and besides, Marvel does this stuff better, so it all feels rather pointless and horribly misguided. A Stephen King superhero movie- who’d have thought it?