Carrie (2013) Blu-ray Review
Everyone who watches movies with even sporatic regularity knows we have entered (and are hopefully in the final throws of) an era of sequels, remakes, re-imaginings, and so-called ‘spiritual sequels’. In this way, despite my hope that the last ten years of films will be remembered by history as a golden age for filmmaking… though I DO recognize I am perhaps the tiniest bit biased on the topic… I do recognize this era as one of change for Hollywood and for moviegoers alike. But “when in Rome” right? Originally released as Stephen King’s first published novel (1974), CARRIE was first adapted into a film (full of classic 70’s campiness) in ’76 by Brian De Palma starring Sissy Spacek. Since then, CARRIE was briefly a Broadway musical (1988), was given an awful sequel in 1999 (THE RAGE: CARRIE 2) and finally was remade (terribly) for television in 2002. You would think with all of this failure in the name of CARRIE the Hollywood industrial machine would be ready to move on, but maybe it’s a good thing they weren’t.
Quick synopsis checklist for those few of you who haven’t seen the original (which, if you haven’t you should avoid for this much better film, despite the cult appeal of the original): tyrannical, cult-religious mother; the locked prayer closet; first period in gym class showers, tampons/pads thrown at her; telekinetic powers; prom – prom queen; pigs blood prank; some a-typical “Carrie” bad-assery resulting in the death of all prom students; revenge; and the destruction of the high school.
That’s a checklist for a pretty great film, and CARRIE (2013) delivers where the original didn’t. Thank stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit Girl from KICK-ASS) as Carrie, Julianne Moore (SAFE) as Carrie’s insane mother, even relative newcomers Portia Doubleday (the only good thing in the awful K-11) and Alex Russell (from CHRONICLE) for embracing their characters and committing to roles in a film that, by all rights, should not have succeeded given its past. Moretz is a bonafide star who draws your eye every time she hits the screen. Further, her scenes with Moore are terribly conflicted but spot on with the tone of the picture.
Speaking of tone, CARRIE also features some pretty solid filmmaking – a crystalline, almost sepia picture shot in a documentary style with tight editing and cinematography. This includes some subtle (at first) play with color as young Carrie begins to come into her bizarre abilities. These are all prominent upgrades from previous efforts to tell this story and are actually more true to the tone of King’s book than any other adaptation to date. Credit should be given to both director Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON’T CRY) and screenwriter/script doctor Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for crafting a world so interesting it didn’t matter that we already know the outcome.
I was originally really concerned about CARRIE and as much as I like this movie it’s still got a pretty tough road to go with most folks. The 1976 version, a highly campy flick considered by me a guilty pleasure, is thought by many to be an iconic piece of film history. Despite the fact that this remake has surpassed the original in almost every way there is a good chance folks won’t ever see it simply thanks to remake-fatigue and in this case that is a mistake. You should definitely give it a chance.
CARRIE BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.35:1) The cinematography is presented beautifully on the CARRIE Blu-ray with immersive visuals and a dramatic color scheme.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio for CARRIE is equally well presented on the Blu-ray package, giving the audience both ambience and a few shock moments without overstepping.
Audio Commentary with director Kimberly Peirce ( CARRIE features a pretty nice commentary from Peirce but it exists primarily on the surface with Peirce never quite going DEEP. There is a fine line here between interesting and pretentious to make a perfect commentary and in the end Peirce simply plays it too safe and just doesn’t go far enough into it.
Alternate Ending: The alternate ending for CARRIE is difficult to reach, you have to choose to play the standard version of the film ‘with’ the alternate ending but it just isn’t easy to find for the casual viewer and you could miss it. Still, if you liked the movie you’ll enjoy seeing something a little bit different.
Deleted/Alternate Scenes (10:18) Some scenes cut for continuity, some for time, and even a few scenes they tried to include from the book but just didn’t work. Most interesting with the optional commentary from CARRIE director Peirce; these were some of the most fun deleted scenes I’ve watched in a while (except that Peirce says about 200 times that kids in horror films who have sex “get theirs” eventually. WE. GOT. IT. Thanks.). They include the following: Hail, Chris and Tina Kiss, Billy’s Wild Ride, Carrie Levitates Margaret, Drive to Pig Farm, Carrie and Tommy Kiss, Billy Kisses Chris, Margaret Cuts Herself and finally Tina on Fire.
Tina on Fire Stunt Double Dailies (02:18) Again presented with optional commentary, this is a really cool look into creating a real effect for CARRIE.
Creating CARRIE (21:07) This is the standard ‘making-of’ feature we find on most discs, and CARRIE doesn’t disappoint. Cast and crew talk about why they wanted to revisit this story and why the movie’s general themes of high school dynamics are so universal and were ripe for another go.
The Power of Telekinesis (04:02) Cast and crew from CARRIE discuss telekinesis and its prominent role in the film.
Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise (02:39) The viral PR stunt you might have heard about from New York City, CARRIE’s marketing team does a phenomenal job with this incredible scene – something you’ve got to check out if you missed it.
CARRIE also features the Theatrical Trailer (01:56) and comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD Digital Copy and a DVD standard edition of the film.