Pig’s blood, telekinetic powers, a religious mother and the ultimate Prom-gone-wrong. The reboot of the now classic Carrie hits all the right notes without ever really breaking free of the legacy of the original. Like Brian De Palma’s original and the Stephen King novella upon which both are based, Kimberley Pierce’s somewhat modernised version only really introduces some throwaway cyber-bullying as something new.
Everything is shot in bright colours akin to those used in American teenage television dramas and the action and horror, limited though it is, is forced to fit within these confines. Some films such as Excision get away with this neat juxtaposition of styles, but Carrie lacks the originality or quality of script. The CGI special effects update the story for modern audiences who might sneer at De Palma’s original, but it doesn’t help matters and what is left is an over-the-top melodrama that feels like a television special.
As a horror, Carrie consistently fails to scare, instead relying on gore to help thrill. But in a film targeted at the post-Twilight audience, too much effort has gone into achieving the lower certification so that when these small moments of gore do appear, they feel drastically out of place.
As a central performance Chloe Grace Moretz does well, but is hampered by a script that doesn’t fully exploit her vast talent. Meanwhile the absolute standout is Julianne Moore as Carrie‘s religious zealot mother. Constantly flagellating herself in the name of her lord and veering from quiet and unassuming in the outside world, to domineering and powerful in her home. She quickly becomes the only interesting character in the film, but never quite threatens the performance of Piper Laurie in the original film.
The iconic scenes remain largely untouched and the post-prom scenes get a little bit more action attached to them. But in attempts to make them seem more sensational, the film loses its small-scale disaster appeal. Carrie is a story worth telling and the idea, it’s just a shame that so little imagination went into this reimagining.