Thursday, March 27, 2014

Film Review: Carrie (2013)

Carrie (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (MGM)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...plays out like a high school drama... never really felt like a horror film..."

Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a shy, passive teenager nearing her high school graduation. Aside from having an overly-religious and disturbed mother, Margaret (Julianne Moore), Carrie is also viciously tormented by her classmates...

Carrie follows the titular character as she tries to survive high school, her mother, and her bullies, while most of the class prepares for prom. At this time, Carrie begins to realize she has psychic powers and begins to hone her special abilities. Eventually, she gets a sympathetic but honest invitation to prom by a popular student, which angers her bully who has been suspended -- so, she plans her revenge. At prom, all hell breaks loose after a "bloody" incident. The final act is decent -- the computer effects are overwhelming, but the scale is epic -- but the actual ending scene was really weak; they add a final touch that comes off as really cheesy.

I'll be honest and I won't pretend like I've seen every film known to man: I've never seen the original Carrie, or the 2002 TV movie, or even read the novel. I knew it was a remake beforehand, though, and I am familiar with the iconic plot, anyway. It really plays out like a high school drama with some action towards the end -- never really felt like a horror film -- in fact, the final act feels more like Michael Bay's Carrie than anything else. Regardless, I like the plot, despite being a little light and uneventful. The characters are mostly irrational, illogical, and annoying -- but they're comprised of mostly high school girls, so that's about right. (I'm kidding.) The biggest problem character was Margaret: instead of being a frightening and disturbing religion fanatic, she comes off as cheesy, cliché, and humorous -- and not the good kind of humor, either. If you can get past the annoying and generic characters, Carrie offers a disturbing plot of bullying and vengeance -- it doesn't necessarily address bullying today, but you can pull a message out of it if you try; it's not horrifying or deep, but it is enough to keep you interested and even entertained. The buildup to the final act, particularly the prom which adds some likable character to the formula, is also very good.

Chloe Grace Moretz, or maybe we should call her Chloe "Saving Grace" Moretz because she's a saving grace for the film, takes the lead as the iconic character, and she's fantastic; her appearance doesn't really fit the typical high school outcast, but her performance does. Much like her performance in Hannibal, Julianne Moore was left in the oven for too long -- her performance is way overdone and almost laughable. Computer effects are something you rarely want to see in any horror film, and they're overused during the final act of the film; they don't look too bad, but most of the effects look like they could've been done better with practical effects, and likely for less money. Director Kimberly Peirce is serviceable enough for most of the scenes; but, it feels like a remake without its own identity, and I haven't even seen the original film(s) or read the novel -- it just never really feels distinct and really plays it safe.

Overall, Carrie offers a fantastic lead performance from Chloe Grace Moretz and an entertaining and interesting story, as well as an epic climax. But, it never feels like a horror film, the action is too reliant on computer effects, the story often feels uneventful, the ending was weak, and Julianne Moore offers a poor performance. This film probably would've been more tolerable as a short film -- and without Julianne Moore.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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