Story: Carrie (Angela Bettis) is a teenage girl who lives a beyond sheltered life, as her mother Margaret (Patricia Clarkson) warns her that the world is evil and she should avoid those evils at all costs. This leads to more than a little social awkwardness and at school, she finds herself as an outsider and struggles to find a place to fit in. When she gets her period in a very public way, Carrie is taunted by her classmates and endures some serious trauma, while finding no comfort at home. Her gym teacher tries to help, which leads to popular girl Sue (Kandyse McClure) to ask fellow social elite Tommy to take Carrie to the prom. Of course, her mother is very much against the idea of such a social event, but will Carrie take a risk and if so, will she finally find the acceptance she dreams of?
Entertainment Value: This remake of horror classic Carrie had an uphill climb from the start, but does this made for television production do justice to Stephen King’s acclaimed work? I still much prefer the Brian De Palma original version, but this take on Carrie has some bright spots, even if it feels like filler is too frequent. Even at just over two hours in length, Carrie suffers from some pacing issues and the material is spread thin, which results in some less than effective sequences. The story follows the expected beats and is more than watchable, however. I wouldn’t have minded some fresh takes blended in, though this remake settles for an update to the time period and little else. That isn’t a harsh critique, as De Palma’s Carrie is so efficient and explores the concept so well, there isn’t a lot of meat on the bone for those who would put a new spin on things. I can’t give this one a high recommendation, but fans of King or those just curious about a new take, this is worth a peek.
While it had to be tough to follow Sissy Spacek in such an iconic role, one of the main reasons this remake works as well as it does is the presence of Angela Bettis. I think she is able to keep the character in line with what the original movie lays out, but also make her own in subtle ways, especially once the movie turns the corner in the narrative. She’s a horror veteran who is able to make even small roles stand out, so it is no surprise she handles a lead role with such aplomb. Bettis has mastered the socially awkward side of her characters, but can just as easily turn badass and in this one, she obviously gets the chance to showcase both of those. I was hoping for more from Patricia Clarkson however, who turns in a passable, if forgettable effort. The cast also includes Katharine Isabelle, David Keith, Emilie de Raven, and Rena Sofer.