Let me begin by saying that I don’t know much about the original. I know the basics but I’ve never seen it. So this version of Carrie will be a new experience, without reference to the original.
The gist is that young Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a high school misfit and things get worse when she experiences her first period and doesn’t know what it is, as her extremely paranoid and religious mother (Julianne Moore) doesn’t want her to become a sexually active adult. So after she freaks out, the entire school teases and taunts her, and that’s when she begins to develop telekinetic powers (the ability to move things with her mind), but does she use these powers to fit in… or get even?
Both Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore do a fair job in their roles. I was concerned because in the previews, Moretz looks like a standard high school girl and I didn’t believe that she was the outcast misfit. In the movie though, it’s her actions that cause people to taunt her, and it’s much more believable. Julianne Moore is the highlight though, as she is hands down the scariest thing in this movie. While Carrie is flinging things around and lighting stuff on fire, you’re never as scared as when Moore is trying to lock her in a closest. Kudos to Moore.
What doesn’t work?
While Moretz and Moore did admirable with what they were given, the problem lies in the writing and direction. The writing is amateur and the cast of supporting characters is straight from an episode of Glee, like cookie cutter high school stereotypes. The dialogue is painful and I just couldn’t wait for Carrie to take them all out, but I don’t know if that was the intention. There’s a solid chunk of movie where it feels more like a Nicholas Sparks movie than a Stephen King story.
That leads into another problem (and one I saw coming). This movie isn’t a horror movie. It’s not scary. If anything, this is more like an X-Men origin story. If this was retitled Jean Grey, I might’ve had an easier time handling this. But it’s marketed as a scary movie, but there aren’t any scares. It doesn’t succeed at horror and so it doesn’t really succeed at being anything. It’s a little schizophrenic, trying to balance all the genres it taps into. It’s hard to say “awwww” as she goes to prom and then immediately hide under your jacket because you’re so terrified. The movie makes it difficult for you to be that scared.
And the visual effects don’t back up Carrie’s power here. There’s a scene when she lifts Julianne Moore off the ground and it’s laughable.
Probably the worst thing though about this movie… is that I felt nothing. The credits rolled and I was apathetic. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t touching, it wasn’t anything. I was hoping that it’d have a message about bullying, but the only message was “Don’t bully a girl with telekinetic abilities.” I don’t know if younger audiences will take that message away with them.
Carrie is a forgettable and cliche high school story with a few great moments from Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. It’s not scary, so those going in for a pre-Halloween rush will be disappointed, but it also doesn’t succeed at being anything else. Poor writing, direction, and visual effects tank this lackluster reboot.