It seems to make as much sense to remake a great movie like Brian DePalma's 1976 horror/suspense masterpiece CARRIE for television as it did to make a sequel of it in the form of THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 three years before, but that's what has been done. A lot of bells and whistles have been added to this television remake, but in the end this CARRIE is still in the shadow of the DePalma original.
Angela Bettis (GIRL INTERRUPTED) has the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes (and the prom dress) of Sissy Spacek in the title role of a New England teen tortured at school by cruel classmates (because she doesn't belong) and at home by her religiously fanatical mother (Patricia Clarkson, in the Piper Laurie role). Soon, she discovers she has telekinetic powers; and when the most gruesome of gags is played on her on prom night, all bets are off.
Though looking much more glazed in the eyes than Spacek ever did, Bettis gives a fairly good performance as Carrie; and Clarkson's portrayal of her uprighteous mother is much more low-key, but no less threatening, than Laurie's portrayal. The special effects, however obvious they might be, are also quite good. But in the end, the reputation of the 1976 original, with its combination of psychological horror and teen-angst drama, still hovers over this remake. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the pig's blood scene. It doesn't have the same jarring emotional impact this time around--not so much because we've seen it before, but because here it looks slightly laughable when the blood gets poured onto Bettis. Because of DePalma's use of slow-motion in the original, the blood hits Spacek like a tidal wave.
I give the CARRIE remake a '6' just for trying. I only regret that its shortcomings as a film have less to do with its execution as a film than the fact that the original movie still resonates much more fully.
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