I had a hard time getting excited for this movie. It was already fighting an uphill battle, being the third adaptation of this book, but the trailers pretty much walked you through the movie plot point for plot point.
Still, I can somewhat understand the logic behind this re-imagining, after all, bullying is a major, high profile issue at the moment. You could easily update this story and make it relevant. The good news is that the movie isn’t awful, but the bad news is that it isn’t all that good either.
You have some strong performances. Moretz does a solid job as Carrie and you do relate to her on some level. Moore also turns in a strong performance as Margeret White. Personally, my favorite was the guy who played Tommy Ross. He did a good job of making the guy genuinely likable.
As a result of the strong leads, the scenes that flesh out the relationship between Carrie and her mom are some of the best parts of the movie. There’s a scene early on where Carrie is getting lectured and tries invoking scripture, but Carrie calls her on it saying that the stuff she’s saying isn’t even in the good book.
There’s another scene near the end where Margeret goes into detail about the specifics of Carrie’s conception. It’s one of the few parts of the movie that are genuinely chilling and Moore does a great job with it.
What really drags this movie down is the script. Were it not for the merits of the cast, the characters would otherwise fall flat. The dialogue is not without its wonky bits and consistency seems to be a bit of an issue.
The movie couldn’t decide how to portray the other students. At times, they’re generally indifferent to Carrie and don’t seem to bear her any ill will. Even early on, when the infamous tampon incident happens, you see the other girls try to calm her down and reassure her that everything’s fine. In fact, they try to hand her a tampon, but then they turn on a dime and start pelting her with them, even going so far as to get it on video.
Even Kris isn’t completely malicious…at first anyway. For the first time, her resentment towards Carrie makes sense as she doesn’t feel like what they did was that bad. Granted, this gets undercut when they upload the video to Youtube, but still.
The movie has some oddly unintentionally funny parts. At one point, Carrie’s mom bonks her on the head with a Bible and the look on Moretz’s face is pure gold. Without a word, it’s made clear that she’s both stunned and perplexed by the events that just happened.
At another point, Carrie tells her mom to stop hitting herself. This is one of the few times where that line is played completely straight as Carrie actually does use her powers to make her mother stop hitting herself..
Speaking of her powers, the movie takes every opportunity to show them off. It’s a bit much, to be honest. She moves things around left and right and it does little to build up any tension.
The prank also does little to add tension as it is thrown in at the last second. It comes out of nowhere and the “pig’s blood for a pig” makes no sense. I did like that they tied it back to the tampon incident, but I think that they could have done a better job building up that particular plot point.
The finale is…a spectacle, if nothing else. Whereas other Carries acted like they were in a state of shock, here she seems outright furious. It was a bit weird to see her making melodramatic gestures and snarling at people. At one point, she force chokes her gym teacher. I get it, her rage is quite justified, but she too turns on a dime as she returns home and is shocked by what happened. It made sense before as if she had become disconnected from herself, but here, it didn’t click with what we had seen before.
Oh, on a more nitpicky note, when your car is hovering in mid-air, hitting the gas pedal isn’t going to help you. This seems like an obvious thing, but Kris didn’t seem to pick up on that. The subsequent explosion was also a bit much, especially the way the camera shot Carrie with her back to it. She wasn’t walking away like the cliche normally goes, but it was close enough that I still raised an eyebrow at it.
All in all, the movie suffers from being so OK that it’s average. It’s really hard to become invested in this story and the movie didn’t really make any effort to stand out. It’s not terrible, but it does seem a bit unnecessary.