‘Carrie’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics agree that Brian De Palma's version still reigns, but this newer adaptation works too.

We’ve been waiting a long time to see Chloë Grace Moretz as “Carrie,” and now, it’s finally here! But do the critics want to drop a bucket of pig blood on it, and say, “They’re all going to laugh at you?” Or … well, let’s be honest, not a lot of good stuff happens in “Carrie.”

In the movie — based on the Stephen King book of the same name (and technically a remake of the Brian de Palma directed movie, as well) — Carrie is a socially awkward high schooler bullied by her classmates, and her religious, physically abusive mother (Julianne Moore). Except Carrie has a secret. A very dangerous, very telekinetic secret. And when she finally gets everything she’s always wanted, only to have it snatched away from her, things go bad, quickly. For everyone.

Julianne Moore Is Better Than The Original
“In a role that calls for over-the-top, Moore is terrific, bringing just the right hint of restraint. She’s less of a fire-and-brimstone loon than Piper Laurie in the 1976 film, but still plenty crazy, shuffling around the shadows like a J-horror ghoul. With her long witchy hair and dowdy sack-dresses, Margaret is an unnerving figure, railing against a godless world in a quiet mutter rather than a thunderous roar.” — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Mortez Is Not, Though She Tries
“For her part, Moretz can scarcely be blamed for falling short of one of the most iconic performances in horror cinema; though superficially deglammed with a strawberry-blonde mop, is still rather too comely to resemble the pimply, slightly overweight figure described in King’s novel, and her efforts to look downcast and withdrawn strain credulity at first… Still, the actress is canny and sympathetic enough that she eventually slips under Carrie’s skin.” — Justin Change, Variety

The Direction Is Mixed
“The director isn’t an showboater or a sadist or a combination of the two, the way De Palma was behind the camera in the first ‘Carrie’ movie, or the way Steven Spielberg tortured audiences with elan in that other ’70s black-comic thriller classic, ‘Jaws.’ The question is: Is tasteful better with this material?” — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

…But Ultimately, It Works
“Is ‘Carrie’ a massive improvement over the original? No. De Palma’s film is a classic, and its theme of the bullied becoming the bully still resonates. But the new film, which includes some of the same lines from the original plus an even bigger bloodbath at the end, works for a new audience. It’s as affecting as drama as it is effective as horror. It wrenches, even as it unnerves.” — Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post

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