If only they knew she had the power…
Directed by David Carson
I’d been looking forward to this version of Carrie for quite a while. I’ve seen the other two, Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013), and The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999). I’ve never read the novel by Stephen King but I do intend to at some point.
The UK title of this version is Stephen King’s Carrie, sounds like this version might be closer to the novel. It stars Angela Bettis as Carietta ‘Carrie’ White, Patricia Clarkson as Margaret White, Kandyse McClure as Sue Snell, Tobias Mehler as Tommy Ross, Emilie de Ravin as Chris Hargensen, Katharine Isabelle as Tina Blake, Jesse Cadotte as Billy Nolan and Rena Sofer as Miss Desjarden. Also stars David Keith as Detective John Mulchaey, Laurie Murdoch as Principal Morton, Michael Kopsa as John Hargensen and Meghan Black as Norma Watson.
I really like this version. Angela Bettis is great as Carrie. The story is told in flashback, as in the book I believe. It’s a TV movie and is the longest of the three versions at 132 mins, great, I like a long film. Watching all the different versions, within the space of a week or so, you do get an inevitable feeling of déjà vu when it comes to the key scenes; Carrie is bullied by some snotty little bitches because she doesn’t fit in, she lives with her fanatically religious mother, she has telekinetic powers, she goes to the prom where shit kicks off. Basically all the versions share certain scenes, have different takes on some scenes and include scenes unique to that version. Is that stating the obvious?
Anyway, this version certainly doesn’t curl up in the foetal position whimpering, “Leave me alone, I’m only a TV movie.” No way does it do that, this a perfectly respectable film. It’s interesting, it boasts some great performances and scenes and the special effects are absolutely fine. Smaller scenes like the confrontation between Principal Morton and John Hargensen (the queen bitch’s father) are nicely done; I was like “Go Morton!” The scenes between Sue Snell and Detective John Mulchaey were a welcome addition; I liked David Keith in Firestarter (1984) so it was nice to see him in another Stephen King adaption, great actor.
But, being Carrie, how does it deliver on those big Carrie moments, big Carrie characters? Well, the mother is a little more subdued and less out-and-out monstrous like Piper Laurie in Carrie ’76, that said she’s a volatile bitch in the right places. Yeah, I preferred Piper Laurie out of the three versions. I probably prefer all the main actors and actresses in Carrie ’76 to either of the remakes but I did think there were more interesting characters in this then in the 2013 version overall. Emilie de Ravin, Claire in Lost, as Chris and bitch accomplice Katharine Isabelle, who was in Ginger Snaps (2000), as Tina both stand out, Rena Sofer as Miss Desjarden is very good but Kandyse McClure as Sue Snell and Jesse Cadotte as Billy Nolan I was less impressed by. Generally the acting was great, no big problems.
So, the big Carrie moments, well, everything was great but if I cut to the chase and look at the prom, the biggest Carrie moment. You know, I don’t want to yawn on and say nothing can come close to Carrie ’76 but if I did say that, it would be true. Again, like Carrie 2013, the music is mostly puerile, but, moving swiftly on, this version at least has a bit of heart when it comes to the acting, dialogue’s OK too. Then there’s the prom’s climactic ‘bucket of blood’ moment, they got a lot of blood in that bucket I gotta say, but it works. The film certainly feels more TV movie at this point than anywhere else but I was fine with that. Now then, ‘beyond the prom’, déjà vu, we’re treated to some decent stuff, I’m not going to compare CGI, it’s just decent, especially for a TV movie. Again, a different ending. Just watch it.
Well, that’s it then. THAT’S IT LAD! THAT’S IT! I’ve now seen all three versions of Carrie and, of course, The Rage: Carrie 2, which I really liked, I’ll have to review that too at some point. Maybe they could do a male equivalent version, they could call it ‘Gary’ or something, but other than that the story really has been told now. Nah, who am I trying to kid? Give it a few years and there’ll be a TV series or something.
If you’ve got a taste for terror…take Carrie to the prom…
And don’t worry, you can go to the prom, no one’s gonna laugh at you. Go on, strut your shit. Personally I do a mean funky chicken. God I’m old. Check it out!