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Carrie (2013) – Review – movieScope

Carrie (2013) – Review

Released: November 29, 2013
Reviewed by: Kat McLaughlin

Kimberley Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) reimagines Stephen King’s novel as a superhero origin story, with increased emphasis on the harnessing of Carrie White’s telekinesis powers. While the essence of Carrie is still intact, the fact that it’s bursting with blood-laced CGI effects unfortunately diminishes the cinematic quality of Brian De Palma’s 1976 original.

Themes of motherhood and sexual disgrace are brought to the forefront with the opening scene seeing Margaret White (Julianne Moore) giving birth to what she describes as a cancer. Peirce is determined to give her characters more of a backstory than we have previously seen, with Margaret, the abuser, being a self-harmer and the girls who bully Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) dealt with in an empathetic manner. Carrie inhabits a world where rigid control of her body is the norm, so when she realises her ability or super power it is something which Peirce uses effectively to illustrate both her independence and trepidation at becoming a woman.

Mostly Peirce has updated Carrie for the current generation, with cyber bullying acting as an effective thread of malicious intent to taunt and push her to the edge. Indeed, the high school element works far better than any of the horror; marking out class division and cliques with Carrie making her own dress for prom is reminiscent of Pretty in Pink. Any sympathy with this Carrie is lost, however, when she  takes control of her power and chooses to wreak havoc only on those she feels have wronged her. While it may be unfair to compare this reboot it to De Palma’s film—though you’ll notice Lawrence D.Cohen (who penned the 1976 version) is given a screenwriting credit—the finale is now poised as vindictive and calculated revenge rather than a loss of control.

3 stars