All the boys who the dance floor didn't love
And all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough
Sing, until your lungs give out
Because the remake was coming out this fall, I wanted to go as Carrie for Halloween. I spilled red juice and corn syrup on a pink prom dress and smeared red food coloring all over my face, arms and even my hair. My bathroom literally looked like a crime scene. I hadn’t celebrated Halloween for two years, so I was really proud of my handiwork. After dancing around all night, I couldn’t wait to take a shower. But when I turned on the faucet, the water was ICE COLD. Turns out because maintenance was working on the pipes, we had no hot water. Long story short, I showed up to school the next day with blood stains peeking out of my sweater.
Anyway, my biggest reservation about this remake was that Chloë Grace Moretz is too beautiful to play a gawky outcast. I could’ve imagined Mia Waisikowska playing Carrie since she can pull off plain. At first I couldn’t with Moretz’s loud breathing while clutching her textbooks, but she acts like such a weird, socially inept Jesus Freak that you eventually can believe her as a loser. Still, you can’t compare Moretz to Sissy Spacek, who was nominated for an Academy Award in Brian De Palma’s 1976 version. What you can compare are the special effects.
For the ‘70s, the original’s prom sequence was impressive, probably even better than most modern horror movies. This opened up a lot of potential for Kimberly Peirce’s adaptation. Where the movie lacked in casting, she definitely made up for in the final sequence. I won’t give too much away, but Peirce ups the ante when it comes to Carrie’s revenge against the mean girl who bullied her. Not to be pedantic, but did anyone else think the blood on Carrie was too… neat? And the hints at her telekinetic powers were a bit too obvious?
The problem with remakes of successful movies is that they are inevitably competing with their predecessors. Unless you’d read the novel by Stephen King, Palma’s version had much more shock value. How can you scare viewers if they already know Carrie’s going to slaughter everyone?
Part of what anchors this movie is Carrie’s religious zealot mother, Margaret, who’s played by Julianne Moore. Even from the previews, I knew she would deliver. And she did. I would even go so far as to say that she did Piper Laurie justice (who was also nominated for an Oscar). It takes a confident woman to let hair and makeup teams make her look gross and haggard, so props to her.
Carrie’s revenge is not unlike school shootings by social outcasts. It’s still such a culturally relevant story because high school bullying isn’t going away. Periods are still embarrassing. Puberty is still awkward. We still want to belong. Only now mean girls can publish our humiliation online.