I finally got around to seeing the new Carrie movie yesterday and it was better than I expected. I expected that it would be an over-the-top remake (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and I was worried that the memory of a modern classic would be ruined. I was delightfully surprised that they didn’t add too much gore or wildly change the plot in order to “update” it. The new movie plays it safe and mostly sticks to scenes that appeared in the 1976 film or were written in the 1974 book by Stephen King. If this movie looks good to you, go and see it. You will feel suspense, just not surprise.
In 1976, Brian De Palma directed a film version of the book. The book presents Carrie’s story by flipping between present tense (1979) and the future through the official investigation of the fatal “black prom” night. The film simplifies this by making it all in the present tense. The 1976 movie changes many of the plot points of the book. For instance, the gym teacher has a larger part in the movie than she does in the book. Also, the order of the killings at the end of the book is different than the film. In the book Carrie dies next to Sue Snell, but in the movie Carrie dies next to her mother.
I think that the new movie has less personality than the first. The 1976 film has interesting camera work, including unexpected viewpoints and fast/slow pacing. When Carrie and Tommy are dancing at the prom, the camera moves repeatedly around the couple dancing.
Do you remember that girl with the red hat in the original? Every scene she’s in, Norma is shown wearing the red baseball cap. This is another quirk about the original film that gives it more personality than the new version.
While I did think that the new movie had less personality than the first, the new movie was better than the first in other ways. The new movie was faster paced. The film kept my interest throughout the movie even though I knew what was going to happen. The tone of the new movie was more cohesive than the original. Also, the visual effects of the new film were excellent.
The new movie successfully adds modern technology without distracting from the story. The new movie includes things that high school students use today, like camera phones, text messages, and youtube.
DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT
One major difference from both the original movie and the book is that in the new movie Sue Snell is pregnant. What did you think about this? I actually didn’t mind the change. After all, it added some optimism after all of that tragedy. In the book, Sue gets her period right after Carrie dies and I feel that this is more symbolic. Why not finish the movie like the book? Perhaps “menstrual blood running down her thigh” would have been too intimate, or maybe the director just didn’t have the guts.
In summary, the new Carrie film doesn’t totally fail. You won’t hate it, but will you remember it?