Here's the good news first: Kimberly Peirce's new version of Carrie starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore is the number-one new film at the box office, easily outdistancing the teaming of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action movie Escape Plan. Now the part that puts things in perspective: Carrie finished third among all films playing in theaters, earning quite a bit less than science fiction thriller Gravity. And it got nosed out for second place by Tom Hanks in the sea piracy drama Captain Phillips.
Though box office is important -- it helps determine what type of horror movies get made in the future -- as fans of the genre, we're more interested in the movie itself. Ahead of seeing Carrie, we listed five well-known scenes that the new version needed to nail. Here's a quick appraisal, grading each scene pass or fail.
The Shower Scene: While some fans have "complained" that Chloe Grace Moretz is too pretty to pass for a "plain" teenager, her vulnerability in this scene really came through in comparison with the ugliness of the taunting by the other girls. Grade: Pass.
Mother and Daughter: The new version begins with a scene that immediately differentiates Margaret White (Julianne Moore) from her on-screen predecessors and makes clear the driving force in her relationship with her daughter: she fears her. And the first sequence between mother and daughter establishes a greater conflict between the two. Grade: Pass.
Pig's Blood: Chris (Portia Doubleday), the chief antagonist, is less a villain than an angry teenage girl in the new version. Whereas before she had the upper hand in her romance with her dim older boyfriend, here Billy (Alex Russell) is a much more threatening figure. This adds complexity and confusion, but subtracts the straightforward evil. Grade: Fail.
Destruction: As we suspected, the new version goes all-out with Carrie's destructive, selective telekinetic powers. For those who haven't seen it yet, we don't want to spoil exactly what happens, but, er, beware of windshields. Grade: Pass.
Epilogue: Again, we won't spoil it, but the new Carrie ends on a very appropriate note that honors both Stephen King's novel and Brian De Palma's film. Grade: Pass.
While critics have been quite mixed in their response, fans have been more enthusiastic. Among the comments we've received, one moviegoer concluded: "Overall, it's the same premise but a different movie with a much more satisfying ending." Comparing this version with the one released in 1976, another fan stated: "While not as s**t-yourself scary as Brian De Palma's original film, Carrie 2013 is still full of thrills, chills and spills (literally) and is an enjoyable viewing experience when all is said and done." Yet another moviegoer wrote: "Joyfully surprised! Excellent remake of a classic. Chloe Grace Moretz steals the show with just a look (or many). … On the whole a very entertaining flick. I will strongly recommend Carrie to anyone who asks. A must-see!"
What did you think? Did the new version replace the 1976 version in your affections? Does the new Carrie stand on its own merits, hitting your horror sweet spot? Or did it fall short? Sound off in the comments below.
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