Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Movie Review: Carrie

 Stephen King's story, Carrie, is a horror story that works on a number of very human levels beyond the dangers of a psychokinetic teen.  The story explores the depths of cruelty that teen-girls are capable of inflicting, especially on one of their own.  It touches upon the risks inherent in a fundamental belief system, especially when said beliefs do not align well with the mainstream and when they are used by someone to control others.  Small-town mentality, teenage angst, anti-authoritarianism, latent homosexuality... Carrie touches on it all. 

 But, mainly, it is about a confused on socially tormented girl with psychokinetic powers.

 Carrie was made into a movie in 1975 featuring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta (before Grease).  That version of the story was powerful both in its handling of the material and its imagery; the film opens with Carrie being pelted by tampons in the girls shower while her classmates cheer "plug it up" in response to Carrie having her first menstruation.  I was very impressed with the 1975 film.

 The 2002 re-make, made for television, lacks the impact of the 1975 film.  Obviously, the 2002 version can not take the same risks as the original; it is made for TV at the height of the move from R to PG-13 ratings in the industry.  The special effects are fair, the acting is better-than-expected, and visually the film is shot well.  I think it is the handling of the story that is an issue for me.  Being made for television, it seems a little choppy (due to the insertion of commercial breaks).  The pacing, though, is also evident in the writing.  Carrie seems to "blossom" a little too quickly for a girl that has nearly zero experience in the world of teen-romance and politics.  Her naivete, no matter how empowered she may have felt, was still evident throughout the original story and film. 

 If you want to experience Carrie, I recommend the original story, with the 1975 film as a close second.  The 2002 version isn't really worth viewing.

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