Favorite

'Carrie,' again 

Moretz does well by King's classic character.

'CARRIE': Chloe Grace Moretz stars image
  • 'CARRIE': Chloe Grace Moretz stars.

Stephen King's lost X-Men prequel "Carrie" has gradually passed so firmly into the canon that the trailer for the latest adaptation didn't mind giving away the entire shebang. That all hell breaks loose at its climactic prom is fated, at least since the 1974 novel, the 1976 Sissy Spacek movie adaptation, the Broadway musical, the made-for-TV version, and on and on. The quiet girl with the Bible-breathing mom and the tempestuous telekinesis starred in King's first novel, and as he became a prolific teller of dark fairy tales, it was only fitting that his inverted Cinderella story passed into pop-horror lore. The story's themes — bullying, puberty, pageantry — renew themselves along with high school seniors, so adaptations of "Carrie" might as well keep popping up every 17 years or so, a deadly locust that slaughters teen-agers in taffeta and rented tuxes every time it appears.

This "Carrie," directed by Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry"), updates the story to include obnoxious tweaks of the digital age. Now when Carrie, already an outsider, suffers through her first period in the school gym shower, her bratty classmates don't just mock her bleeding, they post a cell phone video on YouTube. Otherwise, the big development is that star Chloe Grace Moretz, of "Kick-Ass" renown, is still a bona fide teenager, unlike Spacek, who was in her mid-20s during her turn at prom. Moretz leverages her youth and her wide, spooked eyes to make Carrie as frightening as any child suddenly drunk on too much power. Carrie's discovery that she can sling stuff around with mere will is no more mind-blowing to her than a 1-year-old's epiphany that just by manipulating his arm he can sling food off his high chair.

As dark as Carrie gets, her foils at school and home are even more fearsome. Portia Doubleday plays the remorseless mean girl whose vendetta against Carrie begets all this carnage. She's a ruthless, bitter snot, but it's a weakness of the plot that she hate-stalks Carrie only from afar. By contrast Carrie's mom, the self-mutilating, scripture-twisting Margaret, played like an affliction by Julianne Moore, is at Carrie's throat from birth, when she struggles not to carve up the newborn with a pair of shears. It doesn't take a zealot to see dark forces at work in Carrie's budding telekinesis, but nor does it hurt.

Bedraggled and pinched, Moore hollows out Margaret and fills her with industrial-grade fundamentalist paranoia — to a fault, if anything. "They're all going to laugh at you," she says, trying to convince the daughter to skip prom. (As religious prophecy goes, it turns out to be uncommonly accurate.) At least this unrelenting mother gives Moretz a chance to show some range, as the girl tries to reason with and comfort her. "Carrie" doesn't really work if you don't get to care about Carrie, and Moretz builds a likable lead. You get to root for her, so by the time she lays waste in epic fashion, you've been seduced into cheering atrocity.

This might push you to ponder some sort of ethical dilemma, as you try to sort out which brats deserve which punishment. Don't overthink it. It ain't high art, but it is cathartic and gruesome and arrives in time for Halloween. There's a reason we keep revisiting the bloodiest girl at the ball.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Film Details

  • Carrie

    • Rated NR - Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Carrie
Rated NR · 2013
Official Site: www.carrie-movie.com
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Stephen King
Producer: Kevin Misher
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Cynthia Preston, Max Topplin, Ansel Elgort and Kim Roberts

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Carrie

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Sam Eifling

Readers also liked…

  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in Movie Reviews

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation