It’s one of my favorite lines from the original Carrie from 1976. Our main character’s religiously obsessed mother insists her daughter will be ridiculed at her high school prom. Not only was that a foreshadowing of the events that followed in the film, it could also be applied to the reaction the new 2013 adaptation of the film, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, received from critics. This is my take on it.
I had previously written a post, “Carrie, 1976 & Now”, in which I mentioned what could be the positive of remaking an already well-made film. I never expected it to be better than the original, but I sure as hell didn’t expect it to fail so miserably.
Horror films should not be funny.
Yes, at times, movie-makers might throw in a tiny bit of comic relief, and that’s okay. Your audience might appreciate the brief opportunity to unclench their _________ (fists?). But please notice the emphasis on the word “brief.” There were far too many silly moments that devalued this movie as a true horror flick.
Less is more.
Doesn’t everybody know this yet? The reason Sissy Spacek played the part so well is because she did more with less. She didn’t have to make some elaborate movements with her body to freak us out–it was all in the eyes. This also applies to the special effects. I thought they might do something interesting with all the commotion that happens at the prom, what with all the latest technology nowadays. They didn’t.
Respect the character.
This is one of those stories where the heroine becomes the anti-heroine; and because we’ve seen what she’s been through, it’s almost difficult not to sympathize with her at the end. Call it a crime of passion, if you will. In the original film, Carrie doesn’t target any one victim but rather lashes out at the world. By the same token, she doesn’t save anyone either. She doesn’t discriminate–everyone dies. In this remake, Carrie does discriminate. She targets her biggest bullies, and she keeps at least one person from being harmed. I find that to be a disrespect to her true character.
I had hoped that this 2013 remake would add more insight into Carrie’s story, maybe include some details from Stephen King’s novel that weren’t portrayed in the 1976 original. I was wrong. This turned out to be a cheesy adaptation with a distorted view of the (anti-)heroine.