Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carrie: Review

Of all movies I've seen that I want to review, this may yet be the most fun to review:

You may have heard of it. Possibly?
When I think back to the trailers I'd seen, I was worried that they were showing too much, including the infamous prom night scene. Turns out, they were barely scratching the surface. Nothing but teases, those trailers were. Not only that, but the 1979 movie I can now only think of as a bit campy. The visual filter from then was rather light for a horror movie along with the filming techniques used. Sure, they were edgy and maybe revolutionary then, but now, they could just be head scratching today. Now, we have clear camera usage, highly-advanced CG that can look exceptionally realistic with the context, and (most important with the context of this film), the moral fabric today is loose enough that some of what was in the movie can be seen and no one really cries out at the insane things that Carrie's mother, Margaret says or does. Same with the bullies at Carrie's school.
Back in the day that the book was published ('74), "bullying" wasn't an easily accepted word (much like "sin" is not really accepted anymore), yet that was the primary theme in the book. And when I found out last year that this remake would be closer to the book than the last two films, I was worried over one element from the book. Would they use time jumps?
The book literally broke pretty much every single rule of bookcrafting then, including not having a single chapter, but be separated into 3 parts. Within each part would be the central story, newspaper articles, interviews with people, court hearings, even "documented" birth and death certificates. All within each part in no particular order, and in severely disjointed fashion with only enough clarity to figure out what's going on in the "present" of the central story.
Broke all the rules with a good dose of genius, that King.
Luckily, since American audiences today prefer (rather strictly) a point-A-to-point-B storytelling, there were no time jumps. And that's not the only good thing, either.
Something else that tends to ruin today's horror movies are the mandatory jump moments every couple minutes or so coupled with the heavy story twists. Since my mind works a certain way when it comes to a plot-twist-riddled story, I could only watch a WHOLE LOT of horror movies once then get bored afterward. Nothing (much) against them, that's just how I am.
For Stephen King, he doesn't rely on those groundbreaking (or even quaking) story twists to keep the story going. Maybe a few slights to get one thinking about what's going on, but overall, this is more like a slow burn. No heavy story twists that grab your lungs and jumpstart your brain. Yes, that is a good thing for Carrie.
The heavy stuff is in Carrie's gift, which her mother sees as evidence that her daughter is a witch. It's an integral element (though not a spoiler) to the story itself and the unstable relationship between mother and daughter. At first, the telekinesis shown is subtle,  a pile of tampons getting shuffled followed by a light shorting out. Then, over time, it gets a little less subtle and borders on disturbing until the prom scene, then it goes into overload of jaw-dropping shock, regardless of what you saw in the trailer. Between the beginning and that scene, there are multiple subthemes worth paying attention to, one in particular jumped out at me in the beginning: the use of political correctness to hide behind one's own corruption. One of the story's antagonists being asked to take her phone out to see if the video she took of Carrie and posted on youtube, for instance, looks to her dad who's telling her to "just get the g**d****ed thing out so we can get this over." One can tell she's spoiled completely rotten from her reaction that her father seems to be "with" her school principal (whom she promptly calls filthy sexual degradations behind his back afterward). She uses "invasion of privacy" as an excuse to not hand it over at all and blames the principal, phys ed teacher, and her own father for her banishment from the prom.
That's just one subtheme. There's multiple that's relevant to today's times and worth noting.
Do I have any complaints about this film? Only one.
Chloe Grace-Moretz. Yes, she's an incredible actress. She proved that in her highly controversial performance in Kick-Ass and again in Hugo. Now that she's almost an adult, her style is getting matured and so is her already impressively immersive acting. Yet, she's too pretty.
Yes, too pretty. When I think about how Stephen King described Carrietta White, I remember "spots of acne," "chubby," and overall, homely. No pun intended, but Chloe has Hollywood-grade beauty. It's because of her acting ability that I can overlook her relatively heavily contrasting looks compared to the book's titular heroine.
Regardless, this film gets high praises from me (especially with how Julianne Moore, an atheist, can be such a chillingly disturbed Christian mother and an epitome of calm insanity).

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