First of all, before I proceed, I must remind you that this movie is a remake of the 1976 classic Stephen King flick by the same name. I am in fact a King fan, and I did watch the original prior to seeing this version.
To make this review a bit easier, I’m going to just compare/contrast the remake and the original.
2013: Moretz played a good Carrie. She’s a star, but she’s not one of those big-name stars like Daniel Radcliffe where you see them and go, “Oh hey! That’s Harry Potter.” She’s someone you can un-see. That being said, I didn’t see Hit Girl throughout the film; she was Carrie White. Conflicted between her love for her mother and her desire to fit in at school, Carrie’s struggles are made quite clear. She seems like more of a modern teenager in this one. In the pig blood scene, however, I felt that Moretz was not at her best. Instead of looking terrifying, she looked like she was turned on. It was more of a sensual look about her than a sinister one. Also, as a character, this Carrie was more forgiving. She didn’t kill everyone in the gym, which honestly disappointed me. If she had reached her breaking point, then why would she have mercy? The only way for her to tell who had done it was the pair of sunglasses up above her, a very small detail that didn’t really give her much to go on. Anyway, the kill scene at the end was much too drawn out. I was waiting for the explosion and it took much too long.
1976: Sissy Spacek was simply incredible as Carrie White. She could flip from awkward and sweet to sinister in a millisecond – something people didn’t expect. The pig blood scene was phenomenal. She made that switch almost instantaneously and it was glorious. She had absolutely no mercy. Spacek truly reached her breaking point in this one and massacred everyone. Her walking out of that flame-filled auditorium was so chilling and creepy. It was absolutely perfect. I think that Spacek truly captured the essence of King’s Carrie, and she is the best one, in my opinion.
2013: Julianne Moore surprised the hell out of me. I thought that she wouldn’t be any good, but she was fabulous. Her biting tone only made it better (for instance when she is helping out a fellow student’s mother at the shop). Her scenes showed just how insane she really was. The scratching worked well, and she operated as more of the town kook than anything else. Everyone knew she was crazy, but no one knew just how crazy. Moore did a wonderful job as Mrs. White.
1976: Piper Laurie was a different kind of crazy. It was more of a conflicted fundamentalism than a full-on madness. I think she meant well, but didn’t know how to handle raising a child. Indoctrination didn’t work so she lost her mind (as if she hadn’t already – pfft).
THE GYM COACH
2013: I liked the gym teacher a lot more in the remake. She was nicer to Carrie. Why they changed her name from Mrs. Collins to Ms. Desjardin I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter. I felt that Judy Greer did a great job at being a sympathetic character, but the slap – nah uh – something like that would not fly in a modern-day school. She would have been arrested for assaulting a child. Anyway, Greer did a good job of being a safe place for Carrie and I was pleased with her performance. She was believable.
1976: Buckley, it seems to me, sympathized with Carrie out of the obligation to do her job and be a good teacher. She seemed frustrated that Carrie was experiencing these issues most of the time, so I didn’t trust her from the start. As time went on though, she showed that she truly had a soft spot for Carrie but it took some time for me to really believe that.
I’d give the remake 3 out of 5 hearts. It’s a good movie in terms of entertainment value and it explains things a lot better than the old one did (I had to watch the old one twice to fully understand everything), so if you’re looking for a watered-down, easy watch, go for this remake. If you want the REAL DEAL, pick up a copy of the 1976 original. It’ll leave you shaking in your boots.
The Good: Judy Greer’s performance, plot progression, character development, Julianne Moore’s performance
The Bad: Moretz’s kill face, Carrie’s updated character, the ending
Gore Rating: Light. Mostly action sequences. Not a lot of blood (except for the pig blood).
PS – If you were wondering, there’s a breakdown of which did it better below!
The better Carrie: 1976 Sissy Spacek
The better Margaret: It’s a tie.
The better Gym Coach: 2013 Judy Greer
The better ending: 1976 original movie (I love it when her hand just pops out of the ground. That was glorious. The 2013 gravestone cracking just didn’t do it for me – it wasn’t enough of a punch.)