Old Carrie vs. New Carrie: The Showdown

"At least I wasn't wearing green".
“At least I wasn’t wearing green”.

(Spoilers ahead)

Sissy Spacek vs. Chloe Moretz: Moretz is competent at least during the set up, slightly less pathetic and ethereal than Spacek. However, once the shit hits the fan, Moretz’ derangement comes down to having her eyes as wide open as possible. Spacek makes the transition from mousy to dangerously unbalanced believable. Winner: No contest, old Carrie.

The crazy mom: Both Piper Laurie and Julianne Moore are superb actresses willing to go for broke. Moore has the edge, as her Margaret White projects more danger, to others and to herself (she is a cutter). Winner: New Carrie, by the slightest of margins.

Sue Snell: Carrie’s tormentor turned anonymous benefactor was far more ambiguous in the Brian De Palma version. As played by Amy Irving, Sue’s rationale to force her boyfriend to take Carrie to prom is never that pure. In the newest version, Sue is openly one of the heroes of the piece, but her change of heart is abrupt and hard to swallow. Also, the twist at the end (not in the original) is remarkably gratuitous. Winner: Old Carrie.

Actual horror: The new Carrie doesn’t shy away from the gore, but at no point even attempts to scare the audience. The old one is known for a sequence near the end that scared the bejesus out of me. Winner: By a hand, old Carrie.

The sympathetic teacher: One of the most remarkable aspects of the first adaptation of Stephen King’s story is that the protagonist kills indiscriminately, including the one person who cares for her, Miss Desjardin. In fact, her death is particularly gruesome. In the modern Carrie, the gym teacher is played by Judy Greer, who turns out to be way too likeable to be killed. The film delivers punishment with gusto if deserved, but most innocents get a pass. Checks and balances. Winner: Old Carrie.

Motivations: The remake goes the extra mile to give every single character a backstory to explain their behavior (typical American movie). While it works with bad girl extraordinaire Chris Hargreaves, everyone else comes out as less interesting. Winner: Old Carrie.

Pervy gym class shots: The new Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce, of Boys Don’t Cry fame. Predictably, Pierce erases objectification of objectification sake and the story doesn’t miss one bit. Winner: New Carrie.

By a margin of 5-2, old Carrie remains the queen of telekinesis. Step into the spotlight to receive the pig bl… I mean, the crown.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.