Movie review: Carrie (M18)

Movie review: Carrie (M18)
Cinema still: Carrie starring Chloe Grace Moretz.

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer
Director: Kimberly Peirce
The Skinny: Deeply unpopular high schooler Carrie (Moretz) experiences her first menstruation during gym class and becomes a laughing stock. The girls who tormented her are punished and the most vicious of them seeks revenge, unaware that Carrie has a secret power.

Rating: M18

Mars

Brian De Palma made the classic film adaptation in the 70s, and here is a terrific update from Peirce, who also helmed Boys Don't Cry (1999), another tale of bullying taken way too far.

Carrie is powerful and affecting for a number of reasons.

For a start, King understands that bullying isn't simply unpleasant for those on the receiving end; it is traumatic and truly terrifying. It leaves psychological scars that last a lifetime.

Another thing is that Carrie has an almost cartoonish simplicity that lends it a mythic force. It feels primal.

Carrie's champions - the gym teacher, the popular blonde, the blonde's boyfriend - are saintly.

The villains - the snotty brunette and her coterie of punks - are satanic.

Carrie isn't subtle, it's a story of good versus evil.

The other thing is that King has such a sure hand with the supernatural.

It's a witch story without any of the silly trappings of a witch story. King approaches the paranormal with intelligence and respect, almost a kind of reverence.

For anyone out there who's ever felt weird or marginal, Carrie is definitely your girl.

Rating: 5 out of 5

jjohnson@sph.com.sg


 Venus

I don't remember much of Brian De Palma's original Carrie.

But watching Peirce's take brings back memories I don't want to recall.

The 1976 version was scary.

Here, Peirce is so faithful in paying homage to it that it kills all tension.

So does this Carrie still bring the scares?

Yes, but not in the way a good horror movie does.

This is scary because after almost four decades, teen bullying still exists and is, in fact, more rampant in this cyber age - and that's the message that Peirce is preaching.

One character sums it up perfectly: "You can only push someone so far before they break."

Here, our socially inadequate girl is pushed beyond the brink - by schoolmates and even her mother (Moore).

With all that public humiliation the kids subject her to, can you blame her for going berserk?

Moretz really is a formidable young actress, taking on this iconic character with much aplomb.

She also has much help from Moore, who single-handedly delivers the creepiness this movie sorely needs.

Rating: 3 out of 5

joannes@sph.com.sg

The Consensus: A story that might hit a bit too close to home for some girls. But horror-loving guys will dig it.


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