Adapted from Stephen King’s 1974 novel, the original Carrie film – directed by Brian De Palma – was heavily praised as one of King’s best movie adaptations and the film received two Academy Award nominations for best leading and supporting actress. Since then, there was a sequel and made for TV adaption, and both failed to live up to the massive standards that the Brian De Palma film set. In 2013, Sony and Kimberly Pierce tried their hand at remaking the classic, but this time with Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role and Julianne Moore as her extremely religious mother. Despite the wealth of talent in front and behind the camera, the Chloe Grace Moretz vehicle was mostly met with negative reviews and the film would also end up being a commercial flop. So, what happened? Carrie has name recognition and the Brian De Palma classic is recognized as a horror classic by many. Let’s examine why the 2013 remake fails to live up to the original.
The 2013 Version Is A Carbon Copy Of Brian De Palma’s Original Film
This is the exact same problem that the Psycho remake had. Both films were just a carbon copy of the original classic. There are minor differences here and there, but the key components in the original film remain. One of the big problems is that there was no way that the Brian De Palma classic could be mimicked by another director. Don’t get me wrong, Kimberly Pierce – the writer/director behind Boys Don’t Cry – is indeed talented; however, she just doesn’t have the style that De Palma does. This isn’t a knock on her talent at all, as this goes for every film director. Each filmmaker has a quality that makes them noticeably stand out. This film in no way screams a Kimberly Pierce original. It never recaptures the slow and haunting burn of the original, even though it’s telling the exact same story.
The core characters and themes of the Stephen King novel definitely needed to remain intact but Pierce should’ve taken a different route when retelling the story. Perhaps we could’ve followed the perspective of Carrie’s mother instead? Or the only person who was a friend to the young girl at school? Hell, maybe the film could’ve followed the heavy religious theme and dived deeper into that aspect? Whether those are bad ideas or not, the point is that Pierce didn’t try to make the film any different from its original predecessor. It doesn’t add anything different to the Carrie mythology and it felt like a missed opportunity to showcase a different side of the story.
Chloe Grace Moretz Was A Bad Casting Choice
To be clear, Chloe Grace Moretz is a very talented actress. However, she doesn’t fit the mold of what Carrie should be. In King’s book, Carrie was a fat, pimply-faced teenager. Since studios refuse to go this route then they should’ve modeled after Sissy Spacek. The actress is still easy on the eyes; however, Spacek truly felt like a meek outcast due to her incredible performance. Her body language and speech pattern felt authentic and you could actually see her version of Carrie being the outsider amongst her school. Unfortunately, Chloe Grace Moretz is just too pretty for the role. Plus, it’s really hard to picture the actress as a meek and shy type character.
This isn’t because of the fact that she’s fresh off the role of hit girl from Kick-Ass, Moretz never matches the same demeanor or body language of Spacek that made audiences believe that’s she nothing more than a helpless girl. Yes, she’s being bullied, but none of it feels authentic or genuine. The legendary prom scene in the remake just didn’t strike the same cord as the original in 1976. It feels hokier and noticeably effects-driven, whereas Carrie’s descent to madness in the Brian De Palma vehicle is slow, unsettling, and haunting. In fact, the remake ups the gore factor, whereas the original mainly focuses on the mesmerizing performance of Spacek. The direction and camera work are noticeably different, as Mortez’s movement comes straight out of a superhero film, which comes across as unnatural and awkward. As previously stated, Moretz is a very talented actress; however, she was vastly miscast as the lead here.
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