Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Reviews: Carrie (2013)

So many horror movies are being remade these days, and sometimes you have to sit back and wonder why. Oh, sure, the obvious answer is that it’s an easy Hollywood pitch. When you only have 30 seconds to get the appropriate executive’s attention, it’s hard to pitch an original story. That’s why so many films are adaptations of successful books, or comic books, or stage plays … or horror films from the 70s and 80s. “Let’s remake _______, but we’ll cast _____ as the [hero/villain], and we’ll [make it truer to the original source material / change the story by adding ____ / show more of the villain’s back story / etc.].

But though it may be an easier pitch for Hollywood executives, it can still be a tough sell for fans who don’t want their classics touched. And perhaps that’s why the 2013 remake of Stephen King’s Carrie has faltered at the box office, even though I would argue that it’s a great film.

The 2013 remake works because of brilliant casting – not just Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie and Julianne Moore as her religiously-twisted mother, but the entire supporting cast as well. Unlike the 1976 film, which seemed like it should have been Carrie: The College Years, most of the high schoolers actually look like they could be in high school. Ansel Elgort brings a wide-eyed innocence to his performance as Tommy Ross. Who could say no if he asked you to the prom? And Alex Russell brings an intensity to Billy Nolan that I don’t recall John Travolta showing in the original.

Carrie will certainly make my list for Best Mystery, Suspense, Horror, or Thriller Film of 2013, and no doubt some of the other categories as well.

Rating: 3 ½ stars

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