Carrie 2013 Movie Review

leave your lights on tonight.

by liza darwin

Even though the story is almost 40 years old, there's a reason why Carrie is still just as iconic today: it's really, really scary. But not only is the 1974 Stephen King novel creepy in a goosebumps-inducing way, it's also weirdly relatable. After all, everyone can appreciate a good high school movie-- this one just happens to have an extremely terrifying twist about the unpopular outsider who was pushed too far.

Now that we're finally able to watch the 1976 film adaption without having nightmares, another version has come along to start the scare process all over again. Chloe Moretz is the title character, a quiet outcast who lives alone with her religious fundamentalist mother (played by Julianne Moore).

Because her mom is so extreme--believing Carrie is the spawn of the devil, she's kept her daughter isolated her whole life-- the teenager has no idea what to do when she gets her period in school. Thinking she's bleeding to death, she freaks out. And of course, the mean girl ringleader Chris captures the embarrassing moment on her phone and posts the entire thing online. Chris eventually gets punished and banned from the prom, and it's around this time when Carrie discovers her telekinetic powers.

Even though Carrie's high school life is pretty awful, home is where things get scariest. Mrs. White lurks in the hallways, sends Carrie to her "prayer closet," and, there's a particularly gruesome scene when she runs sharp scissors down her leg. When Carrie is asked to prom, her mom forbids her at first and assures her that everyone will just hurt her. And if you know the story, you'll know that's exactly what happens. (Spoiler alert! Pig's blood is still gross 40 years later.)

Although it's a familiar plotline and the new version sticks close to the original text, director Kimberly Peirce does inject enough 21st century details into the movie to keep it fresh. Along with an indie soundtrack, there's other touches, like the popular clique using cell phones to make Carrie's torment that much worse. This, plus Moretz's talent for giving her character added depth, explains how Peirce's adaptation sways more on the sad end of the spectrum than downright scary. Carrie isn't just a one-dimensional villain, so props to Moretz for making her a vulnerable (albeit freaky) teenage girl. 

Think of this version as a great option for people who don't do well with scary movies. There's blood and gore and lots of cover-your-eyes parts, but even during the horrible climax at the end, it's definitely not as nightmarish as the original.

Which, come to think of it, might be a good thing..because that means we won't have to wait years before watching it again.

Carrie opens in select theaters tonight and nationwide tomorrow.