Kimberly Peirce’s utterly botched remake — and, yes, that’s what it is — of Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) probably isn’t the worst movie of 2013, but it may well be the most obnoxious. Certainly, it’s the most pointless. I wasn’t expecting much out of this one, but at worst, I was expecting passive mediocrity. Instead, I got something actively bad. Any idea that this was going to be a more faithful version of the novel, a “reimagining,” rather than a remake, went south very fast. No, this is just a pale (very pale) copy of the original film, using much of the original screenplay, with a few graceless fripperies and a little (mostly pointless) updating. It should be shunned, even for purposes of curiosity. The film is getting a certain amount of slack, it seems, because it’s (sort of) about bullying, which is a hot topic these days. Of course, the story has always had these elements — bullying is hardly a new phenomenon — and including a YouTube video of Carrie being humiliated in the mix doesn’t actually add anything, especially since it goes nowhere. Its function is merely to show that the movie is in tune with the times. None of the film’s updating adds a blessed thing. Peirce’s great idea is to view Carrie as a kind of superhero origins story. That’s not only as untenable as it sounds, but turns Carrie from a confused, damaged girl acting out of barely controlled and only dimly understood rage into a kind of calculating monster. The minute Carrie starts choosing her victims, she becomes less a victim than a vigilante. The biggest problem, assuming you know the original, is that nothing here works as well as the 37-year-old movie. It all feels like a cheesy copy that’s been Xeroxed a few too many times. The film’s centerpiece — the prom — is an outright disaster. Everything about the movie is just plain inferior — the acting, the direction, the production values, the cinematography, the music.
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