LOS ANGELES - Nearly 40 years after Brian De Palma's cult horror movie "Carrie" shocked audiences, a new adaptation of Stephen King's masterpiece tells the story in an America haunted by the Columbine and Newtown massacres.
The modern version, released in the United States on Friday, co-stars Oscar-nominated Julianne Moore, and is directed by Kimberly Peirce, whose 1999 "Boys Don't Cry" won Hilary Swank the best actress Oscar.
De Palma's 1976 effort, starring Sissy Spacek in the title role, drew a wider audience to "Carrie," the novel published two years previously by the then barely known King.
In the new movie 16-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz takes the role of the tortured adolescent who uses her telepathic powers to wreak revenge on her cruel classmates and her bigoted mother, played by Moore.
"At first I was daunted, as anybody would be. I'm a huge fan of Brian De Palma's original. The first thing I did was call (him) because I'm friends with him. He said 'I think you should do it'," Peirce said at a Beverly Hills press conference ahead of the movie's release.
"I ended up reading the book a few times over and I was re-blown away with what a fantastic story-teller Stephen King is, how deep and resonate the characters are," she added.
"I thought I could modernize it and bring in a contemporary look at these people's lives," she said, citing school and online bullying, as well as "really intensify the mother-daughter relationship because I thought that's the heart and soul of the whole story."
The director also wanted to show how Carrie discovered and developed her powers.