‘Carrie’: Film updates a timeless, creepy story
A review of the updated film version of “Carrie,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore.
Seattle Times movie critic
‘Carrie,’ with Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort. Directed by Kimberly Peirce, from a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the novel by Stephen King. 99 minutes. Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content. Several theaters.
Remember Carrie, that lost-looking girl with the magic powers and the weird mother? Remember what happened to her at the prom? Remember how the original “Carrie” movie scared the perm out of your ’70s hair? Well, she’s back, and in the hands of director Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”), she’s a little less scary and a little more sad.
It’s a testament to the power of a good story that we’re still drawn to Carrie as a character — even after the best-selling Stephen King book, the original movie, a sequel, a previous remake and a stage musical. (Carrie is, apparently, the only one among us who doesn’t already know about that bucket of blood waiting for her.) And it speaks well to the talents of Peirce and her cast that, in this “Carrie,” you find yourself caught up in the story once more.
Chloë Grace Moretz, in the title role, looks painfully young (she’s about a decade younger than Sissy Spacek was in 1976); her Carrie is a beauty who hasn’t yet realized it, and who reacts with childlike wonder to the awakening of her telekinetic powers. As her madwoman mother, Julianne Moore accomplishes something remarkable: Hiding within her bushel of hair as if it were a cape, she makes us feel for this monstrous woman unable to cope with the world, or her daughter.
They’re a fascinating duo, even as they play out a familiar story. Though Peirce’s version brings “Carrie” up to date (the harrowing bullying scene in the gym showers is, of course, filmed by one of the girls and posted to the Web), there’s not much here that’s wildly different from the original film, or that will surprise you in that jump-out-of-your-seat-and-spill-your-popcorn way. But, as the actors pull you in, you find yourself hoping against hope that, somehow, Carrie will have a wonderful time at the prom — and (this is why we watch horror movies, isn’t it?) that she won’t.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org