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Carrie (2013)

Director: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday
Rated R, 100 minutes

 With remakes coming each decade, Stephen King's classic novel CARRIE is moving into folk lore territory. It's not hard to see why; the twisted coming-of-age/revenge tale has universal appeal because we've all known a Carrie White, and we've all witnessed some degree of the high school cruelty she was subjected to.

With the exception of a bloody birthing scene as the prologue, the 2013 remake remains fairly true to the source material, in both the King novel and the 1976 Brian de Palma film. Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz, LET ME IN) is a socially awkward and shy girl being raised by her religious fanatic mother (Julianne Moore). After suffering a dehumanizing and humiliating experience in the locker room showers, Carrie earns the sympathies of her gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer), who comes to Carrie's defense and punishes the girls involved,by demanding they go through a boot camp-style after school detention. Mean girl Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) refuses and is kicked out of school, while her co-conspirator Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) begins to regret her participation and tries to make amends by convincing her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom.  Through all of this, Carrie has been coming to terms with the telekinetic powers she possesses, powers which have led her mother to believing her daughter is a witch. As the fateful night nears, Chris and her equally unlikable boyfriend, Billy, conspire to set Carrie up for the ultimate prom night humiliation.

Despite being faithful, there are a number of huge problems with this newest incarnation of CARRIE. The first being the star: Chloe Grace Moretz. Woefully miscast as the troubled and emotional scarred teen outcast, Moretz lacks the weirdness and the vulnerability needed to portray Carrie White. In her defense there aren't many who could touch Sissy Spacek's role-defining performance in the 1976 film. Whereas Spacek brought a naivete and all-around oddness that sold the movie, Moretz doesn't have the edge or the fragility needed to be to a convincing Carrie. Julianne Moore and the rest of the cast are fine, but without a strong central performance, none of it amounts to much.

Even worse, the film's legendary climax, in which Carrie launches all-out psychic warfare against the bastards who mocked her, is made laughable by some ridiculous choices by director Kimberly Peirce. In order to avoid spoilers, I won't reveal them here, but I will say that Peirce demonstrates that she is utterly clueless in handling this material. Top it off with some very unfortunate CGI, and you have a finale that's more likely to provoke laughter than thrills.

This version of CARRIE plays more like a business decision than an organic project. While it attempts to update the clothing, the music, and the special effects, it fails completely at imbuing any of it with the feeling and shocks of the original. In the end, like most of the contemporary horror remakes, it's completely pointless.

2 out of 5.

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