Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.
Synopsis: In this remake of the Stephen King classic, Chloë Grace Moretz plays Carrie White, a bullied teenage girl with telekinetic powers who is pushed too far by her cruel classmates. With Julianne Moore.
Was this a good date movie?
Sarah: Nope. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a movie that includes both period blood and pig’s blood is not a good date movie.
Joe: But it does offer an open-minded take on marital rape. I agree with you, though, It’s not scary or campy or fun. Your date is going to think you’re just as unoriginal as this remake.
Does the movie stand on its own?
Sarah: Definitely not. Because a lot of the catchphrases (or catch-taunts?) are dated, a shot-for-shot remake only adds an odd, inaccessible flavor to the teens in the story.
Joe: No. The movie felt like an “And then” conversation, like the shooting script was a printed plot synopsis from Wikipedia.
Sarah: It doesn’t force you to feel anything – not much in the way of empathy for Carrie, not hatred of the other kids or the whole school, not fear of her mother. Without these emotional traps, the sadness and the horror don’t translate.
Joe: Right. Nothing felt organic: the tension wasn’t properly built up (so that when Carrie goes nuts at the prom, you understand her rage), and Chloë’s acting is too binary (1: scared-and-wounded animal 2: self-actualized seamstress), which means that you don’t see or believe her transformation.
Sarah: The themes in Carrie are timeless – religious fundamentalism, child abuse, bullying, sexual awakening – and the movie skates over all of them like none of them matters.
Was it scary?
Sarah: No. There was a high and creative death count but very little mood building. The music and lighting were blah and when Carrie goes on a rampage the deaths are hammy.
Joe: Not scary at all. At first I thought the story simply lost its impact over time but that’s not true. After rewatching the original, the De Palma version still works, which is depressing since this is a shot-for-shot remake. How can you fail so badly when you have a successful template to follow?
Sarah: There was some creepiness and some grossness – most of it from Julianne Moore. In this version, Margaret White was more demonstratively self-mutilating and I preferred not to watch the scenes of her scratching her skin off and stabbing herself with crap.
What will you be thinking about tomorrow?
Joe: Tommy’s utter douchebaggery whenever he’s not speaking to Carrie.
Sarah: The triple take during the pig’s-blood scene.
Joe: How the movie’s attempt to dial back the cruelty completely dilutes the story. In the infamous shower scene, Carrie gets her period and is tormented by her classmates, who throw tampons at her. You’re supposed to feel Carrie’s oppression, but in this version, the bullies are pretty reasonable and even offer to help her out. It’s Carrie’s continued shrieking and rolling around the shower floor like a rabid dog that basically forces the girls to make fun of her. Frankly, I thought she deserved to be tormented. I shouldn’t feel that way.
Sarah: This version of Carrie is much more a revenge fantasy than the story of a traumatized girl who is pushed too far. When she’s got more sass and power, she seems like the kind of girl who could negotiate the (very mild) bullying without having to kill her classmates. This movie makes her the evil weirdo.
Wait, was this movie made by the bullies?
Joe: Yeah, you could argue that if the mother had the courage to murder Carrie as a baby, so many more people would have lived. And to be fair, she kind of was possessed by the devil so…
Sarah: My favorite part was when Carrie’s mom clasps Carrie’s hands hopefully before prom and says, “Let’s take the dress off and burn it together!” Great alternative to prom night, mom. You’re really selling it.
Sarah: Absolutely skip it.
Joe: Skip it. See the original.
Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.
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