Ok so first thing I'm going to say: I have not seen the original version of this movie. One of the biggest complaints about this movie from the critics is that it is far too similar to the original. To the point that critics are questioning the very existence of this film. But I can't comment on the similarities/differences because I haven't seen the original. Which as I understand is a very good movie and one of the better must-sees for those dealing with bullies (or for those who are ones themselves) and obviously it was good enough to warrant a re-make so....this point will not factor into my final say.
Ok now that that point has been made let's assume you haven't seen either one. So....Carrie. I feel like Stephen King-based movies need to have their own genre, because after 40+ years of Stephen King novels-turned movies, all the ones I have seen (which is a fair amount) all feel the same. Which is sometimes good, and sometimes not. Here? Not so much. What I am saying is that this movie felt outdated while I watched it in the theater today. Which is somewhat impressive when you think about it. But there were just things happening in this that felt like they were bigger issues in the 70's than now, despite a modern setting, and thus I didn't buy at all. Like the people who were bullying Carrie had no motivation to do so (initially) whatsoever. And they quickly evolve their bullying to criminally illegal levels in the span of a few weeks. I mean talk about escalating quickly. As I sit here and write this I'm thinking to myself that this is not as big of a deal as I initially thought, but while I was in the movie, I was just thinking to myself....really? Also the whole part where everyone besides for exactly two(2) students were in on picking on Carrie was ridiculous as well. We are talking like a hundred plus students all picking on someone for no real reason whatsoever besides for the whole concept of a group mentality. There was one person who started it (who was a freaking psychopath in the movie and so freaking evil) and everybody followed her because somehow she was the most popular girl in school. I can buy group mentality taking over for a scene or two, but it can't count as the primary motivation for a hundred people for an entire movie. It just feels like a crutch as opposed to a smart tool used to forward the plot.
But here's the thing: it's a double-edge sword, because the fact that everyone picks on her allows for me to buy her actions in the third act. AKA it DOES forward the plot! Which I can't really talk about without spoiling. Even though it's in the trailers. But because this movie is so unknown (there was virtually no publicity to this movie whatsoever) I feel like it is a spoiler, so I'm going to avoid it. But it is a fucked up third act. The fact that I added the word fuck there tells you just how messed up it is. Just saying.
Another issue I have: Julianne Moore is a talented actress, but she just couldn't get me to buy into her character. I just didn't buy that someone would be as religious yet inherently ridiculous/radical with her beliefs to even be alive at that age much less somehow have had a child. They do explain the origin of Carrie but I still didn't buy it one bit. I mean she (Moore's character) takes one look at a guy and cuts herself how the hell did they even get into the same room consensually?
So far I've hated on character motivations. Probably too much. But when it comes to the fact that it's a Stephen King story I'm allowed to analyze it! Especially as long as The Shawshank Redemption exists. Also can I just say that I feel like a much better movie with a very similar premise is already out there in the form of Chronicle? I would recommend watching Chronicle before watching Carrie. I know Chronicle came out after the original (obviously) but it really hits on the bullying theme just as much if not more so than Carrie. It even has Alex Russell in it! Carrie, that is. He's the incredibly evil popular kid's even more evil boyfriend. A total 180 from being the voice of reason for Dane DeHaan in Chronicle. But there is one thing this movie has....ready for my big plug for Chloe Grace Moretz? Ready or not, here it comes...
So the actress who plays Carrie is Chloe Grace Moretz. If you don't recognize the name, (which is a damn shame if true) she's most popular for playing Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass, as well as Isabelle in Martin Scorsese's Hugo. She is my favorite up-and-coming actress (I call all child actors up-and-comers, no matter how good they are) but she just needs that one movie that allows her to push her career to the next level. Emma Watson got that in the form of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She was given the opportunity to truly flesh out a character in spectacular fashion, and it has elevated her career into being the current big thing. But I'm still waiting for it from Chloe. She's still the next big thing. But seriously....you need to get on the Chloe Grace Moretz bandwagon. She is without a doubt the best part of this movie, single-handily bringing me back into the movie in the second act. This is when, like in Kick-Ass 2, this movie briefly becomes a high school drama movie, and I was shocked at how much she was able to suck me back into it. And they asked her to do a lot in this movie, like being comfortable in exposing herself in various scenes. You don't see anything, but she still looked very comfortable in her skin, despite the part where she's 16. I bet I felt more uncomfortable watching them than she did filming them. After this movie I'm sold on what I want from Chloe next: a Mean Girls-type high school drama movie. And if Hollywood didn't notice how good she is at that after Kick-Ass 2 they will with Carrie. They better because I want to see this girl in movies twenty years from now. She needs her Perks of Being a Wallflower type movie. Please make it happen Hollywood!!!! Ok Chloe Grace Moretz plug done.
There really isn't anything else to talk about here. The movie looked good. The telekinesis moments looked good for the most part (there were a few that looked fake) and the story had me occupied enough but I mean c'mon...when the best part of a thriller/horror movie is the high school drama portion of it, you are not going to get a good movie. Go watch Chronicle first before you check this one out.
The Critique: Chloe Grace Moretz dazzles, but it's not enough to get past the overall lack of direction in this movie. But still, an average journey. Better than other recent horror remakes....but that's damning with feint praise.
The Recommendation: still a good case study into bullying and bending a person to their breaking point, but now that Chronicle exists and it's so incredibly similar/better....watch that first. But still a decent ride. And a must-see for Moretz fans. (Hey that's me!)
Where to See It: Just wait until this one comes out on DVD and Redbox/Netflix it. It won't take long for this to be on the instant queue.
The Verdict: 5/10 Average.
Oscar Talk; Special Effects maybe. Otherwise I would be shocked to see it anywhere else. But the fanboy within will be rooting for Chloe to get nominated for Best Actress. Absolutely won't happen but I can dream right?