CARRIE [2013] ‘DOC’S CARRIE WEEK, FILM NO. 4’ – On DVD and Blu-Ray 31st March 2014

()
Directed by:
Written by: , ,
Starring: , , ,

On DVD and Blu-Ray from 31st March 2014

RUNNING TIME: 100 min

REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic

carrie

Alone in her home, Margaret White, a deeply religious woman, gives birth to a baby girl. She initially intends to kill the infant, but then changes her mind. Years later, her daughter Carrie, a shy, under-confident girl, nears her graduation from Ewen High School in Maine. While showering after gym class, she experiences her first period. Having no prior knowledge of menstruation, Carrie believes she is bleeding to death, and the other girls laugh and tease her. Margaret, believing menstruation is a sin, locks her into a closet to pray for forgiveness. Carrie’s screams cause a crack to appear on the door. The next day, Carrie’s teacher Miss Desjardin begins for Carrie’s tormenters a week-long boot-camp-style detention, but the worst of the bullies Chris Hargensen refuses and is banned from the prom. Sue, feeling guilty for teasing Carrie, convinces her boyfriend Tommy Ross to invite Carrie to the prom, but Chris wants revenge….

carrie-trailer-review3

So at last here it is, the reason I decided to spend the last few days with Carrie White and her equally telekinetic successor: the 2013 Carrie remake, and, to be honest, I was initially quite excited about this film when it began production and word was going around that it was going to follow the book rather than Brian De Palma’s 1976 film. Yes, the original is a classic, but as I wrote in one of my other Carrie film reviews, if you have to remake a movie, sticking closely to the book that inspired the first film is one of the most valid reasons you can have. What really got me ‘buzzed’ was the very first teaser trailer where the camera is flying over a destroyed town and we hear the voices of the people talking about Carrie until we finally arrive at Carrie walking down the street. At last, we would get to see Carrie wreck the whole town, a scene which De Palma wanted to film but ran out of money. Sadly, reports of reshoots and re-edits dampened my enthusiasm, though finally getting around to viewing the 2002 Carrie TV movie the other day, a film which did stick closely to the book except for its stupid ending but was just very poorly made, got me all excited again, because the TV film was a missed opportunity and could certainly be improved on.

Well, this version of Carrie is….decent. It’s certainly no disaster, but is a bit pointless too. I guess that if the 1976 film didn’t exist, then it would seem pretty good. Unfortunately, it does, so this remake just suffers by comparison while, to be honest, the many alterations throughout production don’t seem to have helped and may actually have weakened the film. It seems that the initial idea was to film the book [they even shot the interview scenes, though I’m glad they didn’t include those as they weakened the 2002 version], but then they decided more and more to refashion the film into a copy of the original movie. So what we have now just feels like a carbon copy, with many scenes that are almost identical, of the original film with a few bits from the book restored. Having a virtual scene-by-scene remake like this almost always harms the film in question because it constantly invites comparison with its predecessor, especially if said predecessor is the superior film. If you haven’t seen the original, then you can do far worse than see this version. It’s a good story, has some effective scenes, and some strong performances. However, for much of its length it feels less like a dark fairy tale and more like a twisted version of a superhero origin story, and I can’t be the only one who is thoroughly sick of those!

This version opens very strongly with Carrie’s birth and her mother Margaret grabbing a very large pair of scissors and coming very close to killing the poor child. Julianne Moore [who had the ignominy of also starring the horrible Psycho remake, and actually replaced Jodie Foster for this film just like she did in Hannibal]’s acting is very powerful and the lighting is good too, this and the scenes immediately after alerting one to the fact that, at the least, this isn’t going to be visually grotty like quite a few recent horror remakes  [Platinum Dunes horror films in particular seem to share this look] seem to be. We then move on to an ‘invented’ [new to the book and films] scene of Carrie and her classmates in the school swimming pool which nicely establishes how isolated and badly treated she is, and then the obligatory shower scene, though being in the infuriatingly politically correct times we currently live in, we obviously can’t have lots of boobs on show any more. Still, when the worst of the bullies Chris records Carrie’s confused and anguished reaction to having her first period and having tampons thrown at her, and puts it on the internet, this version seems to have found a way to update the story and make it more believable and relevant for our times while keeping the gist of it.

filmes_2217_Carrie-AEstranha_10

However, this Carrie is so impatient about showing Carrie’s burgeoning powers that it sometimes feels like we are watching a remake of Matilda rather than Carrie, and there is no surprise when Carrie finally lets rip at the prom, though it’s nice to see Carrie lock her mother in the closet after suffering through three films of her being tormented by her! The tale’s power means that when Carrie goes to the prom and, for a short while, her unhappy life becomes happy, you’ll still probably feel a bit emotional, though in my case it may have been because I was thinking of the poignancy and heartbreaking romanticism of the original Carrie. Cinematographer Steve Yedlin even has the camera revolve around Carrie and Tommy during their dance, though only for a few seconds. Sadly there’s no real build-up to the tipping of the blood on Carrie – it just happens – and it’s painfully obvious that the scene has been CGI ‘enhanced’. Carrie’s rampage has more gore and gruesome deaths [though The Rage: Carrie 2 still has the monopoly on that], bu it leads to what looked to me like really clumsy evidence of studio-enforced reshooting. Carrie is massacring everyone, and one major character seems to be getting killed, but then we cut away, and soon after we get a badly shot scene where we see that almost everyone, including the person who seemed to be getting killed, seems to have escaped the prom and are being taken care of by the paramedics. After that….well, the town scene….it isn’t there! Yep, the scene more than hinted at in that great teaser has been cut out. I suppose we should be thankful that it wasn’t replaced by footage filmed on an obviously different film stock like the final third of World War Z. And final jump scare?….there isn’t one of those either, just a stupid, tacky final shot.

Kimberley Peirce’s film doesn’t exhibit as much style as De Palma’s, but it does look nice throughout, cinematographer Steve Yedlin doing a great job, especially during some gorgeous ‘magic hour’ lensing when Carrie ventures out to the prom with Tommy, and some great individual shots like multiple Carries reflected in a shattered mirror. A few choice bits from the book either not included in the 2002 movie or done badly [falling rocks! Pregnancy!] are included here, and at last we have a version of Carrie where most of the teenagers are played by actual teenagers, including Carrie herself. However, it soon becomes apparent that Chloë Grace Moretz, who is undoubtedly a good young actress, it not quite up to the part. She overdoes the character’s awkwardness with her looks and mannerisms, but also overdoes the telekinetic parts, looking like she’s practising Tai Chi with all her arm-waving rather than unleashing deadly powers. She also seems far too calculating, but then again, she’s not helped by a confused script that seems to suggest her ‘gift’ is a good thing. Julianne Moore is good as the mother throughout – she’s kind of the middle ground between the 1976 and 2002 portrayals, being mostly calm but liable to explode – but this version makes Carrie stronger than her for much of the time. It’s all very well having stronger, more ‘assertive’ females these days, but this approach just doesn’t work for every story.

The special effects aren’t always much good – a particularly bad example being the crappy blood dripping upwards from Carrie just after the pig’s blood is dropped on her – and the supporting characters aren’t very memorable this time round, though this version does go some way to correcting a problem with the original film – Sue’s sudden switch from Carrie’s enemy to Carrie’s friend. Marco Beltrami’s score provides some solid musical backing, though it lacks a memorable theme that could have helped in giving what is a very touching story some more emotion. What is it with all this ‘holding back’ with film scores of late? Anyway, this version of Carrie is just about good enough to hold its own, and is far superior to the shoddy 2002 film, but, to be honest, there’s little point to it, and considering how great the original film is, I don’t really know why they bothered. Saying that, I do have a sneaking suspicion though that a Director’s Cut or Extended Version, something for which a petition is already going around for, could improve this film quite considerably. Hopefully I’ll be reviewing that in time and giving it a far better write-up.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

**Blu-Ray features** by Bat

The Blu-Ray features two versions of the film: one is the theatrical cut and the other is the theatrical cut with alternate ending. Watching both endings, it’s clear the alternate fits in better with the overall style and tone of the footage which precedes it, with the original coming off as rather weak in comparison.

Other extras include a handful of deleted and extended scenes, one of which is practical ripped from De Palma’s version. A collection of dailies show how the prom girl on flames stunt was shot, and we are treated to the coffee shop promotional stunt they did for Carrie upon theatrical release.

The director and cast discuss working on the movie in an insightful Creating Carrie featurette, which includes director Kimberly Peirce’s approach towards the film, creating a modern version of Stephen King’s story and the testing of gallons of different textures of blood for the infamous prom scene, and whether they believe in telekinesis in The Power of Telekinesis featurette.

Finally, the Blu-ray also features the theatrical trailer and optional Kimberly Peirce director’s commentary on the film and extended/deleted scenes.

About Dr Lenera 3029 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

2 Comments

  1. Having read the original screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, I can safely say that the original script didn’t follow the same structure as the 1976 film. Yes, there were a few homages here and there, but it was a whole new take on the story. Before the film was delayed in January 2013, there was a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the first test screenings in December 2012. A number of people confirmed that the original cut was longer and a lot different than the theatrical cut. I remember watching a video on YouTube where two guys reviewed the film (without giving away spoilers) based on what they saw at the test screenings. They confirmed that the film was a lot different to Brian De Palma’s film and was more closer to the Stephen King novel. I personally believe that the studios interfered with the editing of the film. The theatrical cut wasn’t what Kimberly Peirce wanted to release in theatres. It’s like they re-cut the film and gave us a remake of Brian De Palma’s film. I knew it wasn’t Kimberly’s voice in the movie — it was the studios.

    A friend of mine, who is a filmmaker, gave their two cents as to what might have happened…

    The original cut was all ready to go in March, then the studios looked at the release date and thought they could make more money on “Carrie” during the Halloween season. So they demanded re-shoots to make it more Horror. Re-edits to make it a generic Horror film. Push it out at Halloween to make a quick buck. It would explain why the writer of the 1976 film was credited after the 2013 film was delayed — they re-shot a lot of scenes from the 1976 screenplay. Obviously a Halloween release would sound appropriate for the film, but it would have involved a lot of re-editing to fit the running time. The downside to the re-shoots and re-edits is that a lot of scenes would have to be dropped or trimmed to fit the required running time by the studios. The shorter the film, the more viewing sessions the film has.

    Based on fan speculation, test audience feedback, and certain confirmed details concerning the film — the deleted and/or extended scenes include:

    -The original opening was a flashback of Carrie as a little girl spying through a fence on a female neighbor who is sunbathing. The young woman notices Carrie and starts to make conversation with her. Carrie tells her that she can see her “dirty pillows” and the neighbor explains to her that it is normal for women to develop breasts when they get older. That’s when Margaret White appears and snatches up Carrie, screaming and yelling at the neighbor. She calls the young lady a whore, telling her to stay away from her child, and Carrie gets upset and begins to cry. Suddenly, it starts hailing. Pellets of ice come down on top of Carrie’s home while Margaret runs into the house trying to console her daughter. The neighbor just stares in disbelief as the hail rains down on the White residence, and only the White residence.

    -The White Commission [The film had integrated several courtroom scenes with witnesses giving testimonies of their experiences with Carrie White leading to the prom incident, essentially structuring the film as a series of flashbacks and recollections. The neighbor from the alternate opening scene is shown at first, now an adult woman, recounting her experience. There is also a scene featuring a TK Specialist discussing telekinesis and saying something to the effect of Carrie being one of many people who may be born with this genetic anomaly. It’s been said that the White Commission scenes revealed too many prom survivors which the filmmaker’s felt spoiled the climax]

    -There was ‘found footage’ that played a role in the film. That’s why you see Freddy ‘Beak’ Holt carrying his camera around and filming everything.

    -There was more scenes detailing more in depth character development.

    -There was more scenes involving school life, social media and bullying.

    -”Wipe that smile off your face.” – Chris to Carrie at the pool.

    -Chris and Tina kiss [Extended]

    -Scenes involving Facebook, the e-mail sent from Chris to Donna Kellogg. “So I’m out of prom and my [censored] father says he won’t give them what they deserve.”

    -Billy’s wild ride [The “blowjob scene” – similar to the 1976 version]

    -An interaction between Chris and Carrie outside the dress shop.

    -The confrontation between Sue and the mean girls

    -Carrie levitates Margaret [Extended]

    -Drive to the pig farm [Extended]

    -After Tommy leaves the table to get some drinks, Carrie and Miss Desjardin have a friendly and meaningful conversation.

    -Carrie and Tommy kiss.

    -Billy kisses Chris.

    -Margaret claws her way out of the closet and goes over to the sink where she retrieves a butcher knife and cuts herself.

    -Sue tries to call Tommy from outside the school to warn him that something bad is about to happen. He rejects the call.

    -The prom scene as a whole, which was said to be longer and more violent than the theatrical version.

    -Tina on fire [Extended]

    -A scene or shot which reveals George’s and Erika’s fate.

    -There were some really creepy stuff that was unfortunately cut during post-production, like some “dancing” dead students. My source is not completely certain about this detail or its placement within the film. But it was either in a deleted scene where Carrie snaps the limbs of prom-goers or during the electrocution scene which was supposed to be more graphic and longer. In the novel, it was described as a “crazy puppet dance”.

    -The scene of Carrie levitating outside of the burning school was actually re-shot. In the original version of that scene, Carrie was standing in the centre of the lawn, waiting for the remaining students to come out of the burning school before telekinetically picking them off one by one.

    -After Carrie leaves the school, she begins to destroy part of the town by causing explosions, bringing down power lines as she follows Billy and Chris. You can see a few seconds of it from the aerial view. If you look behind Carrie, you can see that several cars are in flames.

    -When Sue is outside the school with Miss Desjardin, she sees Tommy’s body being carried out on a stretcher. Miss Desjardin tells Sue that she’s sorry and Sue walks away with determination to find Carrie.

    -Margaret’s original death scene – possibly similar to the book version which depicts a heart attack caused by Carrie’s power.

    -The multiple endings

    1) The first ending is very similar to the ending of the 1976 film but without the final twist: Sue Snell actually gets killed when Carrie pulls her into the ground.

    2) The second ending is an exact replica of the original film where Snell gets pulled into the ground by Carrie but wakes up in her bed to find it’s just a dream.

    3) The third ending is after Carrie saves Sue by pushing her out of the house, which collapses from the falling stones. There’s a bird’s eye view of the wreckage of what used to be Carrie’s home before we get a quick CGI zoom through a pit of debris, to a close-up of a now bloodied Carrie snapping her eyes open.

    4) The fourth ending is of Sue making a final speech to the court where she says the line heard in the teaser trailer about Carrie being just a girl, not a monster. This is spoken over scenes of Sue and her family visiting the cemetery. Sue goes to Carrie’s grave, which shows the headstone tagged up and vandalized. She leaves her flowers and just walks away. Nothing scary, just a very somber closing shot of the headstone.

    5) The fifth ending is after Carrie’s house is destroyed by the falling stones, the movie flashes forward to several months later. We see Sue in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses, ready to give birth. They’re trying to calm her down but Sue begins to struggle, saying she feels something is wrong. Suddenly, a very bloody hand (covered in afterbirth) erupts from between Sue’s legs, reaching up and gripping her arm. She screams in terror and we see that she is having a nightmare, being held down by her parents while the camera pans over to a wall where we are shown a large crucifix hanging in her room.

    6) The sixth ending is described as a “morning after voice over” by Sue Snell as we see the town coping with what happened.

    7) The seventh ending shows the town the morning after Carrie’s attack filled with news crews, reporters, and cops talking about the whole thing. What’s bizarre about this scene is that Carrie’s destruction of the city is being described as “a conspiracy.” Apparently the town is “trying to cover up what really happened.”

  2. Very interesting reading mate, I’ll admit I only knew about half of that, though I haven’t bought the BR or DVD yet. Sounds like a real shame, it seems like we could have had a film that matched De Palma’s classic, yet was also the film of the book that we deserve – as it stands, the closest version to the book is the crappy TV movie, while this version just ended up as a virtual remake of De Palma’s with a few bits from the book. The studio really screwed this one up, though it sounds like you could almost make a whole new film from the cut footage. All the alternate endings sound better than the one they used as well

    Let’s hope one day the original cut, or at least something closer to it, comes out with some of this juicy un-used footage and minus some of the re-shot stuff. Though I have a feeling that Pierce wants to wipe her hands of this movie and would not want to go to the trouble of reconstructing her original vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*