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Movie Review: Carrie

Carrie
??1/2

In Kimberly Peirce’s remake of the classic “Carrie,” the horrors of teenage insecurities and bullying are amplified.

Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the target of mistreatment for all of her mean and popular high school peers. Fatherless and living with a devout Christian mother who sees sin in everything (Julianne Moore), Carrie lacks the self-confidence and social skills necessary to combat things like P.E. class. On top of her oppressive family life, Carrie has telekinetic powers.

Though Carrie is described as “weird” by her classmates, Moretz is obviously pretty and her beauty is not at all hidden under the overly modest clothing and large cross necklace she wears to school. Carrie doesn’t see herself as pretty but it’s strange to watch a girl be ostracized for being an outsider when she’s as conventionally attractive as the girls doing the ostracizing. But, hey, that’s Hollywood.

The modernity of 2013 plays a part in this adaption through social media and cell phones. In the well-known shower scene, Carrie is incredibly frightened by the sight of her first period, something her mother never taught her about. Crying and screaming, the agonized Carrie draws the attention of the other girls in the locker room. Criticizing her lack of knowledge and fear about such a common event, Carrie’s classmates call her names, throw tampons at her, and record her lying pitifully on the floor of the shower. The video, later to appear online, is pertinent to today’s society where cyberbullying is a popular and incredibly detrimental form of victimization.

The acting in “Carrie” is fairly strong. Julianne Moore plays an excellent scary and self-destructive mom and Judy Greer (“The Descendants”) masters the role of Ms. Desjardin, a well-meaning gym teacher who acts as one of Carrie’s only supporters. Kimberly Peirce as director adds an especially feminine feeling to the film, something refreshing in a largely patriarchal industry. The female students’ battles are greatly emotional and the high school’s male principal (Barry Shabaka Henley) is depicted in a moronic light when he constantly proves unable to utter the word period.

Though the film is definitely entertaining, it doesn’t do a good job of making the viewers feel much emotion or attachment to the characters. Large parts of the film’s climax are scenes of a complete massacre, but it’s not really ever horrific or upsetting— it’s just kind of weird. The shy girl who spent most of the movie reading magic books and being forced by her mother to pray inside a small closet is now seen blowing buildings up and squeezing people’s bodies into bleacher seats until they die.

It’s not supposed to be believable, but it should make the audience feel something. The most anguishing moment might have been when a pig was murdered by uber-mean kids for an intense prank. “Carrie” isn’t bad, but it should no longer be advertised as or considered a horror movie if it doesn’t actually induce fright in the viewers. This third adaption is more uncomfortably sad than anything else.

Tess Boyle

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