Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

{Carrie opens in Seattle on Friday, 10/18, and is screening at Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Oak Tree Cinemas, and Regal Meridian 16. Imaginary Amie also talked to Director Kimberly Peirce about making the film! Read her interview here.}

After the lackluster 2002 remake by David Carson (meant to launch a Carrie TV show, which THANKFULLY did not happen), I was worried about anyone else taking on such an iconic horror story for the screen since Brian DePalma did such an amazing job of it in 1976. 

Also, remakes are tricky! Especially for a story that has invaded pop culture as deep as Stephen King's Carrie has. Even if you're not a horror fan or you haven't seen any other version, chances are you already KNOW what happens at the end. And of course, DePalma has his own distinctive filmmaking style. But that isn't copied here. Instead, Pierce returned to the book for some additional material and added some slick updates, infusing her own voice into the story expertly. And yes, the prom scene in this one is still really bad-ass.  

This Carrie (Chole Grace Moretz) starts at the very beginning, with Margaret White (Julianne Moore) giving birth, although she's unaware that she's pregnant. It's an uncomfortable way to start the film that produces a few giggles, but it works. Margaret immediately tries to kill her baby, but stops herself at the last minute — or maybe the baby does — and decides to raise her by shoving her into a closet to pray every time she disobeys instead. 

So of course, Carrietta White grows up being teased constantly for her strict religious upbringing, and when she gets her period while taking a shower in the high school locker room and doesn't understand what it means, the popular girls descend on her with taunts, insults, a mountain of tampons, and since this is 2013, camera phones. 

After recovering, Carrie realizes she has telekinetic powers and starts exploring how to control them. And then the most popular girl, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), does something to "make up for the cruelty" by talking her charmingly handsome football star boyfriend, Tommy (HELLO Ansel Elgort! You are so cute.), into asking Carrie to the prom. 

Meanwhile, the sympathetic gym teacher, Ms. Desjardin, (Judy Greer) punishes the girls who participated with 1-week of detention on her terms, or their prom tickets will be refused. The ultimate mean girl, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) isn't having ANY OF THAT, and decides to take matters into her own hands — re: a bucket of pig's blood for Carrie. And let's not forget: Margaret White is also hell-bent on making her sure daughter doesn't go anywhere but that creepy prayer closet. 

Let's just say, Prom night doesn't go well for ANYBODY. 

Pierce's prom scene is a pretty faithful to the way it's written in the book, and it's as thrilling to watch as the original for sure. She also added a final confrontation between Carrie and Sue (which also happens in the book, although it's a little bit different) at the end that I wasn't quite sure about, but after talking to her face-to-face, I understand it better. And it didn't distract from my enjoyment of the film as a whole. 

There are a lot of good things here: the updates Pierce added make perfect sense, I really loved the special F/X (in particular, the way they showed Carrie "flexing" each time she used her power), the score by Marco Beltrami is AMAZING, and the casting is fucking gorgeous. 

Moretz plays Carrietta with perfection, alternating between venerability and insane intensity. And not that I've ever doubted Julianne Moore in anything, but I sure didn't need to here. Instead of going full-on maniacal religious zealot like Piper Laurie, she rocks it by showing a quietly disturbed and devout Margaret White. 

Despite knowing the story already, this remake/reimaginging/whatever you want to call it is a whole lot of fun, and I think there's room in your horror-loving heart to appreciate both DePalma's vision and Pierce's. Go see it! It's a good way to spend an evening in October.  

Side note: I gotta appreciate the way MGM and Screen Gems are promoting this. They are all over social media, and my favorite thing is this coffee shop stunt they pulled in NYC. BRILLIANT.