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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Carrie’ proves to be year’s laughable horror

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    For a film that was marketed as horror, “Carrie” seems more like a dark comedy.

    When I saw this film in theaters last week, there was a patron sitting in front of me who laughed at the most inopportune times. During scenes that were supposed to frighten or instill a suffocating tension, this man would lightly chuckle. Instead of growing increasingly annoyed with him for breaking the atmosphere the film tried to establish, I couldn’t help but share in his mirth at the ineptitude of the movie. A remake of the 1976 film, this modern-day adaptation has the feel of a bland pulp flick instead of an interpretation breathing new life into a classic.

    Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a socially awkward high school senior who is bullied by her classmates. She goes home every day to her deeply religious (read: borderline insane) “Mama” (Julianne Moore), who locks Carrie in a prayer closet under the stairs whenever she believes her daughter has “sinned.” In the showers after gym class on one fateful day, Carrie experiences a degrading instance of bullying at the hands of her classmates, led by queen bee Chris (Portia Doubleday). Later that day, during another prayer closet session following the bullying ordeal, Carrie apparently makes a crack in the wooden door with the power of her mind, and realizes she has telekinetic powers.

    To try to assauge her guilt, one of the classmates who bullied Carrie, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), tells her boyfriend (Ansel Elgort) to ask Carrie to prom.

    The rest, as they say, is history, as the prom dance goes from electric dance floor to hell on earth.

    Of all the film’s issues, the acting is the biggest. While in the high school setting, Moretz plays Carrie as if she was raised by wolves. Given her disturbingly unorthodox upbringing, it’s understandable that she’s socially awkward — but not this socially awkward. She quivers and stares with a vacant look when people talk to her. This entire mentality, though, seems to change at the drop of a hat when she’s asked to prom, as she suddenly changes into an almost normal high school senior.

    Elgort, as Snell’s boyfriend, Tommy Ross, is the only young actor who consistently delivers. He’s charming, yet honest. With his upcoming leading role in the film adaptation of John Green’s young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars,” it’s clear he’s a young actor that deserves attention. Judy Greer plays gym teacher Miss Desjardin, who sympathizes with Carrie, but her character seems too over-the-top.

    Moore acts as the scariest force in the film, as she should be. With her long, wispy hair and gaunt, pale facial features, just the sight of her immediately puts the viewer on edge. Her internal nature matches her external appearance.

    Her manic beliefs possess her, and she hurriedly prays to God to save her daughter, even as her daughter is right in front of her. Her conviction that her daughter is the product of the devil is all the more frightening since we know Carrie is only a product of her mother’s misguided employment of religion.

    The scenes between Carrie and her mother are the best in the movie, and Moretz, to her credit, captures vulnerability and fear in such a way that we are afraid for her, not of her.

    In fact, it is hard to classify “Carrie” as a horror movie, oddly enough. Apart from the blood-soaked prom climax and the eerie familial scenes between Carrie and her Mama, the film is quite simply not scary.

    Unfortunately, as Halloween and the end of October steadily grow closer, it looks as if there is a dearth of horror movies coming to theaters, without the yearly installment of the “Paranormal Activity” series.

    “Carrie” appears to be one of the few Halloween-oriented movies lurching onto the big screen, and it doesn’t provide much consolation. The film feels like a throwaway adaptation aiming to get teens to sneak into an R-rated flick.

    If you’re looking to be frightened, stay in this Halloween and rent a classic instead.

    Grade: C-

    Follow Alex Guyton @TDWildcatFilm

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