Let me preface this by saying that I have not yet read the book or seen the original movie, so this is entirely based on my opinion of the 2013 version of the story.
First of all, I honestly liked the film. It wasn’t very well-reviewed, but I found that it did a good job of drawing me into the world of the film. I won’t deny the possibility, even probability, that the first film was more effective (and I intend to read the book and watch the original movie to find out), but standing completely on its own I felt that the 2013 version was one of the better (though certainly not the best) straight horror films to come out of mainstream Hollywood recently.
A good example of this is in the gore which, when it came, I was expecting to laugh at. Call me a weirdo, but I find most gore in horror movies to be far more funny than scary. On the contrary, however, I found myself physically cringing during a few of the scenes – something that very rarely happens. The reason for this, I think, is the emotional connection.
The place where most horror films fail, particularly those that focus on teenage characters, is in making the characters that are supposed to be sympathetic relateable. This may not hold true for everyone, but I definitely felt sympathetic towards the titular character. The reasons for this are twofold. First is that Chloe Grace Moretz did a damn fine job portraying the character in my opinion. Second is that, while I have certainly never been in a situation as abjectly shitty as Carrie lived in, I can definitely relate to the feelings of being a social outsider – not knowing how to act or relate, not understanding the jokes but feeling like a target… that’s something that a lot of people can relate to, and it makes it unpleasant to watch much of what happens to Carrie in this film.
I don’t deny that the movie has its share of problems. Ubiquitous to anything related to Stephen King, of course, are a whole host of tropes that one tires of quickly – the two main tropes here being that religion is awful and that basically every high schooler is a terrible person. I am reminded of the boyfriend of one of the girls, who planned out the prom night prank, who was downright psychotic, so much so that it was almost comical.
Was the movie perfect? Definitely not. Was it still good? I thought so, despite it being decidedly unpleasant to watch at times. Plus it strengthened my resolve to read the book and see the original movie, which I’m almost certain will be a good thing.
I’m just glad that my high school prom was nothing like that.