We've been anticipating the new version of Carrie for months, and in large part that's because Brian De Palma's 1976 movie is a modern horror classic, filled with iconic imagery. Even if you've never seen the first version -- or read Stephen King's novel on which it's based -- a good amount of that imagery has leaked into mainstream pop culture and become familiar. How will the new version deal with scenes that are so well-known to horror fans?
The Shower Scene
With fiercely independent director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) at the helm -- and 16-year-old Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) in the title role -- we've already been assured that there will be no slow-motion exposure of naked women in the new movie. What is key to the scene, though, is that Carrie is completely naive about her own body; she deals with the shock of blood coming out of her body, and is naked and entirely vulnerable when it happens. That doesn't demand that anyone be shown in a full-frontal nude shot, but it does require that the scene elicits empathy for poor Carrie.
Mother and Daughter
The most important relationship in the movie must be made to feel as tense and awkward and unpleasant as possible. In De Palma's original, Piper Laurie made for a stern and frightening maternal figure, and, in Julianne Moore, the new movie has a considerable asset, an actress who can lock her daughter in a closet with the righteous conviction that she's doing the right thing. It's all a matter of tone, and if the new movie nails the scene establishing the conflict between mother and daughter, we'll know it's on the right track.
We already have photographic evidence that a bucket of pig's blood will play just as important a role in the new movie as in the 1976 version. But the first film deviated from the novel in bringing Sue Snell (Amy Irving) to the gym so that she saw what was about to happen -- and was still powerless to stop it, which added an additional measure of pathos to the scene. The staging of this well-remembered sequence will be key to convincing modern audiences that Carrie is a mortal threat to the entire town.
There are three sequences involved: Carrie's actions at the gym, as all hell breaks loose; her meeting with Chris and Billy (Nancy Allen and John Travolta in the 1976 version) and their car; and then the smashing finale at the White house, a confrontation between mother and daughter that settles their differences once and for all. In De Palma's movie, certain elements were omitted -- notably, the middle sequence, in which Carrie's walk through town was quite abbreviated. That walk was featured in the very first footage that was shown from the new version, however, so we can expect that in all its unexpurgated glory, and there is every indication that Peirce and company have not stinted when it comes to these payback sequences.
Distinctly different from King's novel, De Palma's movie ends on a note that sent audiences screaming out of the theater. Thankfully, we have no idea how Peirce's movie will conclude, which leaves us open to any possibilities you can imagine!