Carrie | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Despite final reel mayhem, Kimberly Peirce's re-do offers a quieter horror story about a telekinetic teen

Gym-class tears for Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz)
Gym-class tears for Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz)

There is some epic mayhem in the final reel of Kimberly Peirce's re-do of Carrie, and it's likely enough to satisfy audiences who have come to revel in the film's violence. (The infamous bucket of pig's blood is dumped in slow motion, again and again, as if anticipating the modern inclination to make gifs of notable moments.)

But this new version of Stephen King's novel about a telekinetic teen (adapted by Brian DePalma in 1976) also offers a quieter horror story — about life as a bullied kid — as well as some affirming moments that don't involve setting catastrophic fires.

Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) lives with her deeply disturbed mother (Julianne Moore), whose conflating of religious mania and violence traps the teen in a stunted and confusing misery. (No lesson like getting beat with a Bible.) School is no respite, where Carrie is shunned as a weirdo, only gaining attention when she becomes the object of a cruel taunting.

When Carrie enacts her telekinetic revenge, it is liberating despite its horror. But there's also power when Carrie defies her mom and simply goes to the prom. The film's final scenes suggest Carrie's awakening is not just her transformation from victim to actor, but an understanding of her own self. The end is tragic, but it at least reflects her informed agency.

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