On Monday I had a very rare opportunity to do something spontaneous (spontanaeity is not easy to come by with a two-year-old). My mom offered to keep Audrey for a few hours so my husband and I could do something kidless for once. We decided to go see the new version of “Carrie”. My brother, his girlfriend, and my sister tagged along.
Does your movie theater have recliners? Like… literal… recliners? Squeee. They are heavenly. Quite literally the best of both worlds… you get to see the movie as it is meant to be seen, on the big screen, but with the comfort of chillaxin at home. I even took my own blanket to heighten the bliss. I would have paid the ticket price just to lay there for an hour and a half sans movie. So comfy.
Ahem. Anyway, so now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get to the point. The new “Carrie” doesn’t suck per se, but it isn’t scary.
That’s kind of a letdown.
I should back up.
While articles about the new version claim it is not really ‘remake’ of the 1976 de Palma film, but more its own thing, it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn. Being that these films are both based on the same book and will largely contain similar content by default, I don’t think making comparisons is unfair at all.
Let’s take Sissy Spacek as Carrie vs Chloe Moretz as Carrie. Both of these actresses, I think, are a little too pretty to portray Carrie as she was described in King’s book; there, Carrie was chunky with ‘colorless’ hair and quite an acne problem. I don’t think either Sissy or Chloe look the type to be an ‘outcast’ but I found Sissy to be far more convincing than Chloe. It’s true that my personal opinion is that Chloe is more physically appealing, which would typically be fantastic for an actress but does Chloe no favors here as we expect Carrie to be plain or even homely. While it’s true that Chloe’s looks are downplayed in this film, there’s no hiding the fact that she is quite a beautiful girl. While Sissy certainly isn’t ugly by any means, she is not a stand-out beauty like Chloe, and her averageness was really great for her role in “Carrie.”
Looks aside, Sissy continues to be the clear winner in The Battle of the Carries. Even though I have seen the 1976 film a dozen or more times, I still find it terrifying each time. As cliche as it sounds, Sissy really excels at becoming Carrie; she IS Carrie whereas Chloe is a pretty girl playing a plain girl. Sissy is much more convincing as a vulnerable, shy girl and her eyes… her eyes are riveting to say the least. When the blood is poured on her and all hell breaks loose, just the look in her eyes shows the viewer that the rest ain’t gonna be pretty. Chloe’s eyes lack that passion, that pushed-past-the-breaking-point, it’s-all-over-now-motherfuckers that Sissy’s had. Again, it sounds cliche, but it’s all in the eyes and Sissy had it.
Julianne Moore as Carrie’s fanatical mother Margaret White doesn’t hold a candle to Piper Laurie’s performance. Again, the eyes; and Piper was much better at becoming Margaret White rather than just assuming the character as Moore did.
The character of Chris Hargensen was much more evil in the original as well. As a whole I would say the acting in the original is far superior to that of the remake. The one character I was impressed with was Tommy Ross; the actor who played Tommy really pulled off that genial, sweet, compassionate-but-not-to-the-point-of-pity persona that Tommy from the first version perfected.
While the 1976 version is the superior film by far, the fact is that it’s dated and it shows. This is where the remake really shines, in that it will likely be much more appealing to today’s youth than will the older film being that it is set in the modern era. And the anti-bullying message is still there… it just doesn’t shine as brightly as it did in its predecessor.
Carrie is getting (mostly) awesome reviews, and to my surprise I was the only one in my group who preferred the older version. I expected this with my younger companions (22, 21 and 18) but my husband, who is several years older than me (he is 34, I’m 27) preferred the new version as well.Would I recommend seeing this movie? Yeah… chances are you will enjoy it. It’s a little unnerving but not what I would call scary; perhaps that it is more tame will allow it to appeal to a wider audience. If for nothing else, it deserves a view to remind us of its enormously important anti-bullying message, which if valid in 1976 is more than relevant today.