As Stephen King remakes go, I tend to deTEST them. They always want to bastardize the original works, especially the literary works on which these movies are based.
I loved the original "Carrie," with Sissy Spaseck and John Travolta, having grown up in that era. And I rented this movie with the intention of hating it. But it actually grew on me. I was half-way through the movie, when I realized that it was, subtly, better.
I also did not want to like Angela Bettis as Carrie White. But she, too...grew on me. The hesitations in her performance, are her CHARACTER's hesitations, not a lack of talent. Quite the contrary, in fact.
The deviations this work takes from the original movie are constructive variations rather than the mindless drivel customary in the King remakes.
Unfortunately, as with many of Mr. King's works, the dogmatic overtones hammer you in the head. They are nowhere near as "ignorable" in this made for TV movie, as they are in the novel, but that is to be expected.
Mrs. White is still the insane pontificating zealot she is in the original literary work, but I found Carrie's faith uncharacteristically smarmy. It wasn't exactly out of character, considering who raised her, but it was distasteful, to say the least. The original Carrie was a head-strong girl who knew her mother was crazy. This Carrie was afraid of her own shadow, literally.
The pig butchering scene was a delightful deviation, more like the novel and less like the original movie. Nice. It was compelling, disturbing and REAL.
I also enjoyed David Carson's (Smallville, the 10th Kingdom, etc.) direction of Carrie, herself. Her experimentation with her powers was a nice touch. It added depth to her character instead of the shrieking plastic Carrie we got in the first movie. Added much to the depth of the movie, as well.
The scene where Chris and Billy are in bed together discussing Carrie's fall, has a definite "Cruel Intentions" feeling. A likable, but sinister "Cruel Intentions" feeling. Niiiice. Except for the actors being in their mid-twenties portraying high school kids (also done in the original), the movie had a reality to it that the first one lacked.
Rena Sofer as Miss Desjarden was a delight to behold. There should be real teachers out there like her. Law-suits not withstanding, ALL teachers should demonstrate her level of caring and compassion.
The way the entire movie was based around the police interviews with the students was wonderfully done, creatively perpetrated and convincingly portrayed. Many various and diverse touches were added to make this a very memorable movie.
All in all, a much better movie, than the original. It contains the well-thought-out remake of the original scenes we've come to love and expect from the movie, "Carrie," giving us both what we want and what the movie needed in order to best the original.
As I said in the beginning, I had no intention whatsoever of liking this production, but it won its rewards by demonstrating superior direction, screenplay and performances. And, last but certainly not least, I found the ending to be even more dramatic in its portrayal than the original, by giving us less drama and more action. Very VERY nice! Extremely well-done Made-For-TV movie. Brilliant adaptation of King's work. Absolutely delightful.
It gets a surprising 7.6/10 from...
the Fiend :.
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