Based on the Stephen King novel, Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma is a horror classic. The 2013 remake, directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss) is a reworking for modern audiences. While the film is fine, it’s nothing particularly special. Working from a script by original screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen and Big Love scribe Robert Aguire-Sacasca, the basic story will be very familiar to fans of the original film.
Quiet, and withdrawn, 18-year-old Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) struggles to fit in with her classmates. Homeschooled for years and naïve to the ways of the world, Carrie is an easy target for abuse. Her mother, Margaret (Julianne Moore), is a deeply religious woman paranoid her daughter is being claimed by the devil. After suffering years of abuse, Carrie has discovered she has telekinetic powers. If Carrie is pushed too far, her powers can become very dangerous.
Carrie’s discovery of her powers helps her develop a new confidence. This results in tension between Carrie and a popular clique of girls led by Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde). Escaping her mother’s rigid control, Carrie decides to attend her school prom with popular kid Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort). The ensuing prom is the strongest part of the film. Carrie’s revenge is sudden and intense. Special effects have made significant advances since 1976, and the prom scene is the one area where Peirce is able to stand out. The psychic havoc is every bit as brutal as the original. Moretz effectively unleashes her terror in gleeful bursts—you could see them as orgasmic. It’s a purposeful choice, as Peirce’s Carrie is a more feminist reading of the material than De Palma’s.
This is precisely the problem with Peirce’s Carrie. What made De Palma’s version of the film so convincing was that there was never anything strong about her. Therefore, when Sissy Spacek got her ‘revenge’ it seems to come out of the blue. Here, Peirce has given Carrie confidence, almost wanting to make her a superhero type figure, and it just doesn’t have the same shock value. As for the “too shocking for theaters” alternate ending included on the Blu-ray, let’s just say that the only thing shocking about it is how bad it is. Some things are best left on the cutting room floor.
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the 1080p image is incredibly sharp and nicely detailed. Textures are visible throughout. Color correction gives the film a bit of a dreamlike quality at times. It’s a soft haze, often accompanied by a warm hue. Black levels and contrast are solid. Skin tones appear natural.
Carrie‘s lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track provides crisp and intelligible dialogue. Surround channels engage nicely for the various telekinetic sequences, providing a well balanced mix of atmospheric and environmental effects. Bass an LFE are used in a similar fashion, given some nice depth to the scarier moments.
English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Commentary with Director Kimberly Pierce: Peirce follows the action on screen, commenting on the themes at play in the particular scene. She also discusses some of effects in use and the actors’ performances.
- Alternate Ending: The disc has been formatted to allow selection of either the theatrical cut with its standard ending or with the alternate ending. Peirce has recorded a short introductory commentary for the alternate ending.
- Deleted/Alternate Scenes (w/optional commentary) (HD, 10:18) A “play all” function is included.
- Chris and Tina Kiss
- Billy’s Wild Ride
- Carrie Levitates Margaret
- Drive to Pig Farm
- Carrie and Tommy Kiss
- Billy Kisses Chris
- Margaret Cuts Herself
- Tina on Fire
- Tina on Fire Stunt Double Dailies (w/optional commentary) (HD, 2:18) These dailies show how the death-by-fire at the prom was done with real fire, rather than CG and trick photography.
- Creating Carrie (HD, 21:07) Interviewees include Kimberly Pierce, Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Judy Greer and producer Kevin Misher. They discuss King’s novel, the film’s themes, and the actors’ preparation for their roles.
- The Power of Telekinesis (HD, 4:02) The director, producer and cast discuss the portrayal of telekinesis in the film.
- Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise (HD, 2:39) As a PR stunt, the ‘Snice Coffee Shop in the West Village in New York City was rigged to stage an outburst of telekinetic temper by a real life “Carrie”, as cameras recorded the crowd’s stunned reaction.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:56)
- Digital Copy + UltraViolet