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Saturday, October 26, 2013




"To the Devil!"

Kimberly Pierce's remake of Carrie is a screeching, histrionic anti-bullying parable, warning teenagers to be careful who they're bullying lest that person turn into an unhinged, telekinetic mass murderer. Chloe Grace Moretz is Carrie White, born from the womb of Bible-thumping weirdo Julianne Moore (looking like a crazy Christian Skeletor). Carrie's not even a minute old before Moore tries to impale her with scissors, which would define their relationship for the next 17 years. Sometimes, Moore imprisons Carrie in the cupboard under the stairs. No way in Hell is Carrie allowed to read any Harry Potter.

As a senior in high school, the previously home schooled Carrie is an alienated loner resented by her school chums for parroting her mom's beliefs that they're all going to Hell. Carrie is also alarmingly unschooled in the basic aspects of being female; when she gets her period in the gym class shower, she causes such a scene that even her kindly, meddling phys ed teacher Judy Greer belts her across the face to calm her down. Carrie's meltdown is videoed by her hateful classmates on their cell phones. The most hateful one of all, an irredeemably malevolent shrew played by Portia Doubleday, puts the video on YouTube and cannot for the life of her understand why this is wrong and why she should be punished for it. All she knows is Carrie White had it coming.

Carrie's opinion of teenagers is that they are self-serving, conniving sociopaths and budding criminals. Certainly, nearly everyone in Carrie's high school is. Except one sweet girl, Gabriella Wilde, the only good person in Carrie. Wilde is the Regina George of her school but watching Carrie get pelted with tampons in the shower forced her into a rather profound (for this movie) bout of self-examination and she decides she wants to be a better person. Out of the goodness of her heart, Wilde decides to deny herself her dream of attending senior prom and cajoles her studly boyfriend Ansel Elgort into taking Carrie White instead. Elgort balks at first but acquiesces; he really, really wants to get laid. Carrie naturally believes the mean girls are just trying to trick her again, but despite her mother's protests in Bible-tongue, the lure of actually being a normal teenager for a night is too much to resist. 

Meanwhile, Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers, which explains all the things shattering and exploding everywhere whenever she gets upset. There's some lip service paid to Carrie discovering the wonders of being able to move objects with her mind, but it turns out the best thing about being telekinetic for Carrie is having the power to stop her mother right in her tracks when she's charging at Carrie with a knife. If Professor Charles Xavier existed and wheeled his way into her house, Carrie might have been spared the big centerpiece event the whole movie is building to: Carrie at the prom getting doused with a bucketful of pig's blood by the scheming Doubleday. Moretz, who's all cherubic pretty face and long, gangly limbs, does her best preening and voguing depicting Carrie's psychotic, murderous rampage of revenge as she burns down the school and uses her powers to murder nearly every person at the prom. Carrie's revenge on Doubleday and how she kills her still doesn't quite seem like payback enough for that bitch. Who can really empathize with Carrie, though? She's a killer born of a deranged wackjob. Carrie was never going to get a happy ending. Or a sad ending. But the movie does have an ending, and that's enough.