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MANILA, Philippines – It’s surely every pubescent’s fantasy, at least once at some point in their lives, to have the power to psychokinetically wreak havoc upon tormentors real or imagined. Not everyone can parlay teenage angst into a hit pop singing career a la Taylor Swift or John Mayer. For the rest of us, we can turn to a vehicle like Kimberly Pierce-directed Carrie, and revel in fantasies of vicarious vengeance on tormentors from our teenage years.
Can’t come up with a song like Swift’s “Fifteen”? Destroy your high school with paranormal powers instead! (Trust Stephen King to conjure light, breezy and more rational alternatives.)
This shows the enduring power of Stephen King’s Carrie. To this day, the iconic novel, while not quite flying off the shelves as it once did, can still be found in any reputable bookstore’s horror or thriller section. That it still seems to be in print is evidence of its enduring legacy.
In fact, that Hollywood saw fit to remake the original film at all is itself evidence that the story of teen angst finding supernatural cathartic expression is still resonant among the masses.
On a slightly personal note, when I was in high school in the ’80’s, I knew a girl who was ostracized and tortured cruelly by her schoolmates. The more level-headed of their peers admonished the more odious of the bullies, advising them to ease up a bit lest they suffer telekinetic comeuppance at the hands of a potential “Carrie” in their midst.
Pushed too far
Light and breezy he may not be, but Stephen King certainly knows how to touch a nerve in nearly everyone.
In this remake, teen sensation Chloe Grace Moretz is cast in the title role, and for the life of us, we cannot imagine anyone doing a better job, save perhaps a teenage Drew Barrymore. Moretz is beautiful, which is always a plus in a titular character. She is also just quirky-looking enough to effectively portray a teenage outcast bullied and ostracized by her peers.
Moretz is particularly effective at portraying Carry White’s internal conflicts–as a teenage pushover with awesome mental powers, as a supernatural daughter of a tyrannical religious zealot mother, as an essentially sweet kid pushed too far.
Moretz’s Carrie is a very, very pretty teenage Dirty Harry.
Other standouts in the movie are: Julianne Moore as Carrie’s insane mother, Gabriella Wilde as the “mean girl” who tries to turn over a new leaf, and Portia Doubleday as the vicious ringleader of the school’s mean girl clique.
Kudos too to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lawrence D. Cohen for a solid screenplay. It can’t be the easiest thing to turn a Stephen King novel into a realistic, believable story for film.
And on that note, we must applaud Kimberly Pierce’s direction. In lesser hands, it would’ve been easier to go way over the top with a story like this. Whatever gore there was seemed appropriate to us. What was left unsaid and unseen spoke volumes.
Carrie is a good, solid, entertaining blockbuster which addresses the issues of bullying and irrational religious fervor. And Chloe Grace Moretz is a beautiful young lady who doesn’t rely merely on her undeniably formidable good looks; she can act! And this movie shows it.
For a good shot of paranormal pulchritude this Halloween season, this new “Carrie” is a good bet.
Watch the ‘Carrie’ trailer here:
Jazz musician Aya Yuson is best known as a wizard on six strings, a wicked guitarist. For the past 3 or so years he has been a regular contributor to www.gmanews.tv‘s lifestyle section, and now seeks to expand his horizons by contributing to rappler.com.