The story of Carrie was always linked to women’s liberation. Steven King, whose book both versions of the film are based on, described it as about women “finding their channels of power”.
This remake by Kimberly Peirce is the first time it has been tackled by a woman. But any high expectations this raises are to be disappointed.
Carrie White is repressed by her Christian fundamentalist mother and forbidden to be a sexual being. In the iconic opening scene she starts her first period—which is met with horror and disgust from her mother.
Her peers on the other hand reject her for being weird and unaware of her sexuality. Even the gym teacher who is portrayed as Carrie’s only real friend sees a date to the prom as the highest achievement open to her. She asks, “What girl doesn’t want one magic night?”
The best part of the story comes when Carrie rejects this shallow convention—by literally burning it to the ground.
But Peirce’s adaptation turns it into a bit of a farce. She’s cast a conventional Hollywood beauty in place of the very striking original Carrie.
This seems to reflect Hollywood’s inability to cope with imperfection. Peirce exaggerates the period scene with a graphic and unrealistic amount of blood. Like Carrie’s bullies, the film seems to turn her menstruation into something monstrous.
And the “sexy” casting of the characters turns what is supposed to be a great horror film into a bit of a teen movie about the prom.
I’d recommend sticking to the original.