Carrie tells the story of the young titular character, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), who not only grew up under the thumb of her religiously fanatical mother, Julianne Moore, but has been bullied and made an outcast all her life. What makes Carrie different is that she has latent telekinetic powers that come to an explosive head in an event referred to in the King novel as Black Prom.
Carrie's powers start to show themselves after a traumatizing event in the school's showers, and here is where the film's new modern setting adds a bit more depth and cruelty to Carrie's harassment. Where previous versions of this story simply had her being terrorized by her classmates, in this version, the hazing is filmed and eventually posted online for all the school to see and mock.
This event not only starts to unlock Carrie's powers, but it also sets off a series of events that will leave the town in flames. Leading the hazing are Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday, Youth in Revolt) and Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), but also Carrie's entire female PE class joins in the attack. It isn't until gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer, Archer) breaks up the group and slaps Carrie out of her hysterical fit that everyone stops - but by then, the damage is already done.
What follows is a series of events leading to Carrie learning to control her powers, Chris getting her prom tickets revoked, and Sue deciding that her boyfriend should take Carrie to the prom as a form of repentance. All of this, especially Chris' desire to get back at the outcast, eventually sets Carrie off in one final outlash that does way more damage than anyone could have expected.
By far, the centerpiece of this film are Moore and Moretz as mother and daughter. Moore plays a different kind of fanatic than was portrayed in the classic film, but her portrayal as Margaret White really sells the role and plays off of Moretz's desire to not only please her mother, but fear her as well. That is, until she realizes that she has the ability to break away from her mother and do what she wants.
The supporting cast of Greer, Doubleday and Wilde do a lot to make this a solid version of the Carrie novel. Sue's reasoning for the actions she takes is apparent and Doubleday as the borderline bad-girl really comes through, and when she finally crosses the line into criminal acts, it really helps to make you want Carrie to get her revenge. Doubleday is paired with Alex Russell as Chris' boyfriend, Billy. Personally, I found Russell's version of this character to be more more spot-on that John Travolta's version in the 1976 film - Travolta just doesn't seem to be quite as bad as the character warrants. Meanwhile, Sue's boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort) seems to be the polar opposite of Billy and feels just as right for the role.
Carrie's Blu-ray release comes with both the theatrical version as well as one with an alternate ending that is a solid nod to the 1976 film. There is also a collection of deleted scenes. I found these to be interesting since there were versions of scenes that were in either only the book or only the original film. There is also footage of one of the stunt doubles catching fire in a sheer prom dress and a 20 minute long featurette on the making of the film.
This release also comes with interviews where the cast and crew talk about their beliefs in telekinesis as well as the theatrical trailer, a commentary track with Director Kimberly Peirce and an amusing publicity stunt where a coffee shop was rigged to play out a scene involving an angry girl throwing tables and people across the room. Some of the guests' reactions in this video are priceless.
It's hard to determine if Carrie is a remake of the original movie or a new interpretation of the classic book. In part, that is because of how closely that 1976 film came to the original text. In the end, it feels like this version strives to find a place between the book and original film. I never really felt the story of Carrie falls into the horror genre and neither of these versions of the film really change my opinion on the matter. As a result, I would recommend Carrie to a lot of people, even those that typically steer away from horror films. Don't get me wrong, it definitely has the requisite amount of blood to be considered a Carrie film, I just feel like its more drama than horror.