Monday, 30 December 2013

Carrie (2013) Review

The 2013 version of Carrie comes from director Kimberly Pierce and is an interesting hybrid of a remake of the 76 film Carrie by Brian De Palma and the original source material by Stephen King. Those hoping for an entirely faithful adaptation of the Stephen King novel will no doubt be disappointed. However those willing to accept the new film utilising some elements of the 76 film and combining them in a unique manner with the source material will find what is a terrific hybrid of both an adaptation of the Stephen King novel and remake of the 76 Brian De Palma film.

Carrie is a shy young girl in her final year of high school and is continually and mercilessly bullied. Her mother Margaret is a crazed religious fanatic who is similarly abusive albeit in a different manner to how those at school treat Carrie. Carrie however still loves her 'momma' and doesn't embrace how she is treat and as the film moves forward goes from a loner to one who begins to seek social acceptance. During a particularly egregious incident where Carrie is being bullied one of Carrie's classmates Sue has a change of heart and begins to try and make amends for her actions. The result of this incident is that Chris (one of the instigators of the bullying) has her right to the upcoming prom revoked when she refuses to accept her punishment for her actions. Chris is unable to accept any responsibility for her actions and seemingly unable to understand that she had even wronged Carrie. Conversely Sue ultimately sacrifices going to the prom and convinces her boyfriend Tommy to ask Carrie.

Both Chris and Sue are given ample time to develop as characters and their motivations and reasons for their motivations are fleshed out (which where unfortunately lacking in the flawed but superb Brian De Palma film). This is of particular importance as up until the prom the title character Carrie is the subject of others actions with both Sue and Chris decisions and actions being what moves the story forward. Characterisation also differs from both the source material and original film when it comes to the character of Margaret who is shown as a highly disturbed yet still loving mother. Numerous of the secondary characters are also given more room to develop which affords actual characterisation as opposed to the caricatures they where presented as in the 76 film.

The seemingly small changes from the 76 and 2013 film along with the more obvious changes permeate the entirety of the 2013 film and not only change the tone of the film considerably but also allows for unique twists on scenes which often utilise the structure of the 76 film but combined with elements from the novel. The most obvious example of this comes towards the finale, but suffice to say whilst not all will be happy with the changes made, their is ample differentiation for the 2013 film to stand alone from both the 76 film and novel.

Much like the novel one of the greatest strength of Carrie is in its depth achieved, which thankfully in the film is presented in a non overt manner. Reasons behind characters actions are well thought out and their is simply something horrifying in how enjoyable it is to watch some of the later horrors in the film as opposed to the earlier horrors.

As a fan of the Stephen Kings novel and Brian De Palma film, Carrie was one of my most anticipated films of 2013. This was especially the case with the Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Pierce at the helm. With that said it is impossible to not be disappointed by the lack of several elements from the novel that the initial teaser trailer strongly hinted at. This however is an unfair criticism of the film itself which has a different focus to what the initial teaser hinted at. The film itself is successfully able to differentiate itself from prior versions of the story and is a gut retching, haunting, horrific experience that comes with my highest recommendation.

Note: I would strongly urge people unfamiliar with the story to not watch the theatrical trailer for this film as it gives far to much away about the film (the trailer for the 76 film also had the same issue present) and seem to be deigned for those who are already familiar with the novel and 76 film.


  1. Good review and I had to comment and mention the petition for the extended cut of Carrie. What Kimberly Pierce originally shot was not what was theatrically released, as preview audiences can attest. Check out the petition site, which has a lot of info:

    1. Thankyou for your kind comment. I havce heard about the petition. However giving how poorly added in the alternative ending is and that the film did well, but didn't ignite thew box office on fire, I doubt we shall see a different cut. If there is one already done (or mostly done) that is going to be released I would imagine it would come out this coming Halloween. If nothing surfaces then I doubt we shall see anything new about this film for a long time (if ever).