The Stephen King novel Carrie is referred to as a classic for a reason: It is timeless. Much like the book, the 1976 Brian DePalma film starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie (among numerous other stars) captured the powerful story of a telekinetic victim of a lifetime of bullying and a final (not to mention fatal) prank that ends in bloodshed. Then they remade in the 1990s. And completely missed the point. And again in the early 2000s. And somehow did worse. But thankfully, with an updated (albeit still very believable and sadly just as tragic) setting, the 2013 film finally captures the magic and the horror that King originally penned in his career-launching tale of violence and terror.
This time around, director Kimberly (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss) Peirce teams with Chloe Grace (Kick-Ass, Let Me In) Moretz, Julianne (The Kids Are All Right, Hannibal) Moore, Judy (Playing for Keeps, Cursed) Greer and relative newcomers Gabrielle Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, and Zoe Belkin. The original film is amazing, there is no arguing that point, but an updated setting and the inclusion of the extra cruel invention of modern-day technology as an aid in a bully’s arsenal proves just how important a film like this can truly be. Expertly penned in quite possibly the best screen adaptation of the year, Roberto (Glee, Big Love) Aguirre-Sacasa is the final icing on this already near-perfect version of King’s work.
The film somehow not only updates to an all-to realistic setting, but features a powerful performance by not only its lead actress, but by the always-excellent Julianne Moore. It is worth noting that Chloe Grace Moretz can officially drop the “up and coming” label after this film. She shows depth beyond her age and delivers a hauntingly tragic and uncharacteristically vulnerable performance. But don’t be fooled… Because as the tagline suggests, “You will know her name.” But something that it leaves out is that after seeing this film, you will feel her pain. Not to the extent of her tormentors and the people who were quite literally in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there is a certain humanity behind the horror. The truly scary part of a story like this isn’t the fact that Carrie White kills almost everyone the night of her senior prom. No. The real fear lies in the fact that things were allowed to take her to the breaking point. This is, by far, the horror film of the year.