Remake Rumble: Carrie (1976) vs Carrie (2013)


The 411: An abused and ridiculed teen develops telekinetic abilities that she uses to exact revenge on her tormenters at schools and at home.

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Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) vs Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz)

Neither of the actresses that have portrayed Carrie White on the big screen has fit the original description of the character from the Stephen King novel who was a chubby girl with a face full of acne and oily, stringy hair. Chloë Grace Moretz is a very pretty girl and all of the slouching in frumpy clothing can’t change that simple fact Moretz does try her best to portray Carrie’s feelings of being an outsider and she does a good job of making the character’s longing to fit in and be normal ring true. She does seem a bit more consciously malicious in the prom revenge scenes than I was expecting her to be. Spacek on the other had was like a walking, talking raw nerve who would crumble if someone said hello too loudly. Spacek also did a better job of seeming outside herself during the prom scenes when Carrie flips out so that once she comes back down to Earth her shock and horror at what she has done seemed more organic than Moretz’s reaction. I think the biggest difference between the two actresses portrayals were that I ended up feeling far more empathy for Spacek’s Carrie just because of how pitiful Spacek played her.
Advantage: CARRIE ’76

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Margaret White (Piper Laurie) vs Margaret White (Julianne Moore)

The performances by these two actresses playing the same character could not be more different. Piper Laurie’s Margaret was a pious, judgmental, insane force of nature who strutted through the original CARRIE like she owned the place. She was over-the-top in her every action and seemed to have hardly any true love or affection for her daughter. Julianne Moore’s Margaret was a tragic, broken woman who was almost fearful of everything from the outside world to the woman her daughter was becoming to the powers her daughter developed. I actually felt pity for Moore’s Margaret throughout the movie. But I had more fun watching Piper Laurie.
Advantage: CARRIE ’76

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Sue & Tommy (Amy Irving & William Katt) vs Sue & Tommy (Gabriella Wilde & Ansel Elgort)

Amy Irving and William Katt were no great shakes as the most popular couple in high school in the original film but they were miles better than Wilde and Elgort whose performances were more suited to an ABC Family TV show than a big screen movie. A major sticking point with me was how quickly Wilde’s Sue went from being part of the crowd that picked on Carrie to feeling guilty. The change of heart seemed to happen in the same scene and never really felt all that genuine.
Advantage: CARRIE ’76

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Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) vs Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday)

Chris Hargensen is one of my favorite teen movie villains and Nancy Allen played her perfectly. She was a typical rich bitch who felt she should always get her way and when she didn’t she would lose it. And her progression over the course of the original film worked because she went from run of the mill mean girl to crossing the line to becoming a bit homicidal in a much more natural way than Portia Doubleday did in the remake. The remake’s Chris was pretty much a psychotic witch from her first scene and Doubleday’s hammy performance only served to exaggerate things. There was not an ounce of nuance in her performance and no safe place for any scenery to escape her constant chewing.
Advantage: CARRIE ’76

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Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) vs Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer)

I still don’t know why Brian DePalma changed the name of the tough as nails gym teacher who befriended Carrie but whatever his reasons it didn’t stop Miss Collins from being every bit the broad you don’t wanna mess with. And in Betty Buckley’s hands I sometimes felt a bit worried for the girls in her charge because it seemed like Miss Collins was two seconds from dropkicking them to death if they stepped out of line. Judy Greer’s Ms Desjardin was not quite as physical or gruff as Miss Collins but she was still a tough cookie and her protective feelings towards Carrie were very evident. While I liked both performances I though Greer was able to be more convincingly empathetic than Buckley.
Advantage: CARRIE ’13

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1976 Movie vs 2013 Movie

When watching the Brian DePalma directed CARRIE today, one immediately notices how dated the film looks. While almost any film made over 35 years ago would look dated, the original CARRIE has the look and feel of one of those Afterschool Specials from the 70s where everything looks like the camera was smeared with Vaseline before filming. But aside from the look of the film, the original CARRIE still stands up as a movie. The acting from the primaries (especially Spacek and Laurie) was stellar and the direction by DePalma was great especially for the times. The 2013 CARRIE is not a bad film but it falters under the weight of the inevitable comparisons to the original. Moretz, for as good of an actress as she may be doesn’t measure up to Spacek’s performance; Julianne Moore is a great actress but Piper Laurie got that Oscar nomination for a reason; and director Kimberly Peirce does her job competently enough but she brings nothing special to the proceedings to make this version of CARRIE stand out. I was hoping that Peirce would make her film as more of a reproduction of the novel which would have set it apart from the original film but what she gave us was much too close to the the 1976 movie for my taste.
Advantage: CARRIE ’76

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Final Verdict: The original CARRIE is a horror classic and one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel ever with top notch acting from it’s two main stars that still is remembered fondly today. The remake is a good enough horror movie that would be considered very good if it was not a remake of a beloved film. But instead it just seems like one of the more unnecessary remakes in recent times.
CARRIE 1976: A-    CARRIE 2013: C+

5 thoughts on “Remake Rumble: Carrie (1976) vs Carrie (2013)”

  1. Moretz is just too cute to believe that she would be picked on by high school kids – Sissy Spacek was not ugly but a little weird or different looking and damn believable because of it. I agree with you DePalma got it right the first time and to me, a remake is basically pointless. So it’s a little dated, don’t people still watch B&W films?

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    1. I have been trying to decide in my head which was a more pointless remake…Carrie or the Gus Van Sant Psycho?
      At the very least Van Sant’s Psycho had the conceit that Van Sant was attempting to do a shot for shot remake of Hitchcok’s film. I can’t think of anything that was done with Carrie that warranted this remake.

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      1. My personal opinion on movie remakes is that the new film needs to have something new and different from the original that at least sets it apart or makes it interesting for me as a viewer.

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