At the Movies - Carrie - review

Chloe Grace Moretz in 'Carrie'.
Chloe Grace Moretz in 'Carrie'.

If you’ve never heard of either Stephen King’s novel or the film ‘Carrie’ then here’s what it’s about.

Carrie White is a very innocent and shy teenage girl and she is sheltered from the world by her overprotective and fervently religious mother. Carrie’s peers don’t approve of her unique qualities and bully and berate her every chance they get.

Julianne Moore in 'Carrie'.

Julianne Moore in 'Carrie'.

Carrie starts to develop telekinetic powers and when the bullies embarrass her in front of the whole school Carrie wreaks revenge laden havoc.

Stepping into the shoes or should I say, the dress, of Sissy Spacek is the uber talented Chloe Grace Moretz (‘Kick Ass’ and ‘Let Me In’). It’s just a pity Moretz is so adorable because not once does she ever evoke the same feeling of dread or despair conjured up by Spacek in the original film, almost 40 years ago.

Spacek’s manifestation of Carrie still sends shivers down the spines of many a horror fan but I doubt Moretz would make even make the most delicate of film fans whimper or shriek.

Moretz is a beautiful young woman and it’s her beauty that makes her portrayal of social pariah Carrie so unconvincing.

Where Spacek comes across as weird and naturally awkward, Moretz feels like she is a little out of her depth.

Moretz is an actress with a promising and award laden future ahead of her but as Carrie she fails to cut the mustard. Moretz is the epitome of the girl next door look and she could have easily played one of girls who makes Carrie’s life a living hell.

It’s not to say that Moretz is awful nor is she frustrating, it’s just it’s very hard to remain engaged with a character and a film like Peirce’s Carrie when you know Brian De Palma’s film exists.

Peirce’s film does have its good points though.

Julianne Moore plays Carrie’s religious zealot mother and her performance is perhaps the most frightening aspect of the entire film. Moore plays the part with tremendous intensity, distrust and paranoia.

It was always going to be interesting to see how she would make Stephen King’s novel, which is set in 1979 but was published in 1974, feel relevant in 2013.

Impressively, this is something Peirce achieves tremendously well.

Peirce documents one of the scenes where Carrie is bullied by a group of her peers by getting one of the girls to video the ordeal on a mobile phone and then upload it to the internet.

Obviously, neither of the aforementioned existed when King penned his novel, so with that in mind, Peirce does manage some degree of cleverness.

If you’ve seen De Palma’s film then you’ll know that the wonderful thing about Carrie is that it’s a movie that works toward a climactic end and whilst it felt utterly satisfying in 1976 it feels a little too laborious and boring in Peirce’s film.

Some will say that Peirce’s film is a success simply because it has introduced Carrie to a younger generation of film fans but I’d be willing to bet that if they sat and watched De Palma’s offering they would most certainly prefer the latter.

‘Carrie’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full cinema listings visit or telephone 02871 371 999.

VERDICT: 3/5 - Peirce has yet to live up to the promise she displayed in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ in 1999 and despite trying awfully hard to reimage Stephen King’s Carrie she doesn’t come close to surpassing or indeed equalling Brian De Palma’s 1976 original. It is however entertaining to watch how she makes the story feel modern and relevant. Moretz is not scary enough but Moore’s Margaret White is so creepy that social services wouldn’t have to think twice about her.