Joy Reviewz -- Carrie (2013)

In 1974, a horror novel by legendary author Stephen King was officially published. The book was called Carrie. The book was set five years in the future (1979) and was about an awkward teenage girl who discovered that she had telekinetic powers. Pushed to the brink by teasing classmates, Carrie White snaps and uses her new-found abilities to wreak complete and utter devastation.

The book was raw and ended up being a success. A film, starring Sissy Spacek was released two years later, in 1976. In 1999, a non-canon sequel was released. In 2002, a made-for-TV film of the exact same name was released. And finally, in 2013, we got yet another feature-length film, this one once again titled, simply, “Carrie.”

The big difference in this last film, was that it was actually good. And that's the one I'm going to be reviewing today.

I'm not sure where to start, to be totally honest. I really enjoyed everything about this movie – it was a refreshing, realistic, and modern take on a done-to-death classic. The high school girls that taunt and torment Carrie (played by the staggeringly talented Chloë Grace Moretz) actually act like high school girls. Carrie's mother (played by Julianne Moore, who I usually don't like – in this role, however, she's admittedly in her element) is a convincing zealot with obvious and realistic signs of mental damage (she reminds of my older sister, a little bit!).

And, perhaps, most importantly, we have Carrie herself. Now, let me set something straight – I enjoy Moretz's performances as a whole. I've always thought she was good, I've never really thought she was great, and I've never been one to gush over how amazing she is. That said, she steals the show here, in a big way. She finds a spectacular balance to her character, and she also allows that character a chance to evolve from previous performances without “ruining” her. Moretz's take on the 40-year-old character is an awkward, but otherwise intelligent and together young girl. She's been sheltered and she knows it, she doesn't want people to know about her home life so she doesn't make it common knowledge. This makes her come off as a very realistic “weirdo”, acting the way an actual teen in her position most likely would. She questions her mother's continuous indoctrination with reasonable protestations, shows spectacular degrees of conflict when confronted with challenging situations, and is, all around, one of the most well fleshed-out and real characters I've seen this decade.

The performances, however, are not where this movie's strengths end. The cinematography is fantastic. The dialogue is amazing. The script is excellent. The movie teases the mind at every turn. It guides you to where it wants you to go and then firmly places you there, like a virgin being allowed to touch a breast for the first time.

What must also be considered is the challenge that this film was presented with. It was tasked with telling a story that everyone already knows, not changing the story in any way, but nonetheless making it a thrilling and engaging experience. We, as an audience, wait eagerly for the inevitable finale – and it isn't just foreshadowed, it's outright made clear. If, at the beginning of the film, a man walked onto the screen and clearly stated “at the end of this movie, Carrie will slaughter an entire school with her telekinetic powers in a fit of rage,” it wouldn't be any more obvious that this is how the film will inevitably end. We all know it. We're all waiting for it. And when it happens....

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IT. IS. AWESOME.

Chloë Grace Moretz holds herself like some sort of goddess of rage, drenched in blood and directing her crippling frenzy against those who had tormented her. The kills are creative and powerful. There is no conflict, no shame, no holding back. Carrie becomes the spirit of vengeance and uses her ability to crush everything beneath her, eventually using her power to lift herself from the ground, floating as she brings the school to rubble. The extra climax with Carrie's mother is equally intense, even emotional.

So, with everything said and done, 2013's Carrie doesn't leave you hungry for more – it leaves you satisfied, like you just sprang for the $30 feast at Red Lobster. Highly recommended.

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