I was first introduced to the 1976 Carrie by my film studies lecturer at university and was impressed by Sissy Spacek‘s portayal of a fragile teenage girl unaware of her great strength which, like a ticking time bomb, gathers pace throughout the film before reaching an unforgettable crescendo.
The film made a real impression on me. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, director Brian De Palma‘s screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel grows increasingly more unsettling but leaves the biggest fright for the end when Carrie is transformed from an innocent and sheltered girl into a demonic, blood stained horror!
Central to this film’s success, aside from the casting of Spacek, is a frightening performance by Piper Laurie as Carrie’s religious fanatic mother. Her treatment of Carrie is abhorrent and her presence made me feel sick to my stomach – what was she going to do next? The crucifixion scene was also extremely uncomfortable to watch and served to further reinforce the complicated and emotionally charged relationship between mother and daughter.
Did there need to be a remake? I’m not so sure…
Carrie (2013) was successful in bringing the film up-to-date and reconnecting it with 21st century girls e.g. the use of social media and video to bully Carrie. This was the first time I had seen up-and-coming actress Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, 2010) in a film, and although I don’t think you can beat Spacek in this role, I do think she gave a good, solid performance, but without the vulnerability and awkwardness of Spacek. Special mention must also go to Julianne Moore who played the role of the mother and gave Piper Laurie a run for her money in the acting stakes. Like a crazed bird in a cage, Moore’s energised performance was good enough to scare a new generation of Carrie fans.
However, the special effects in the prom meltdown scene in the 2013 adaptation were too much in my opinion. Whereas the pig’s blood bit was successfully achieved, the raging fires and car smash up were over the top and strayed away from telekinesis into a world more akin to Superman. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to CGI.