The Horror Honeys: The Devil Never Dies... He Keeps Coming Back

The Devil Never Dies... He Keeps Coming Back

A Revenge Honey Premiere Review

Good evening my beloved Poppets! (And a good morning to our East Coast lovelies.) Tonight, I broke my own very strict rules and saw a remake (I maintain Evil Dead was a sequel so don't give me any guff) in the movie theater on opening weekend. Normally, this is a rule I obey staunchly, but for a remake of the Stephen King novel-based, Brian De Palma directed Carrie, it seemed acceptable. Directed by Kimberly Pierce, Carrie stars ChloĆ« Grace Moretz in the title role, Julianne Moore as Margaret White, Judy Greer as gym teacher Miss Desjardin (fans of the novel will already notice a change from the film here.) I won't hash out plot, because you know it, right? Right.

So, in total rule-breaking mode, my darling friend and I stormed the Santa Monica AMC armed with low expectations and contraband rum. We agreed lowered expectations were necessary in case of disaster. I have already filled you in on my concerns here (CGI, straying too far from book/film, a basic "OH MY GOD LETS BE MODERN!" attitude that tends to color all remakes these days.) And kiddies... My concerns were totally for naught.

I will start by saying that I can already anticipate film critics "wah wah wah-ing" about this film. They will claim its the same old thing, uninspired, a re-hash. BUT I BEG TO DIFFER. First off, Kimberly Pierce clearly had a genuine passion for Carrie White. And not Brian De Palma's Carrie White, but the Carrie White of the brilliant Stephen King's imagination. Pierce's Carrie is far more faithful to King's vision of Carrie White than the original film. Subtle details known only to those who have read the book obsessively (guilty) will be noticeable and appreciated. These details will probably be lost on a younger generation or critics who are just going off the 1976 film.

Additionally, Pierce has a knack for tweaking tiny little details that made this horror fan giddy. For example, a small thing such as casting Sue Snell's character with a blonde actress (Gabriella Wilde) and Chris Hargensen's with a brunette (the ragefully bitchy Portia Doubleday), manage to subtly turn the genre on it's head. It's a tiny detail that proves Pierce was genuinely trying to do something different. Further, while I was concerned about the use of CGI, Pierce doesn't overuse it. Rather than take away from the iconic prom scene, the computer effects enhance the anxiety as the whole room almost literally goes to hell. I think I may have held my breath the whole time, and I obviously knew what was coming.

Chloƫ Grace Moretz as Carrie was probably about as perfect a choice as Kimberly Pierce could have made in casting. Like Sissy Spacek before her, Moretz has the same gracefully gorgeous features that make an outsider look in and say, "What the FUCK is wrong with these kids?!" However, Moretz adds a layer of desperate defiance to Carrie early on that wasn't present in the Spacek-version. It neither subtracts nor adds to the role, but it does make it interesting to watch. This young lady embodied the role of an abused teenage girl well, but did an even better job when the time came for her to seek her revenge.

And then... there is Julianne Moore as Margaret White. Anyone who says Julianne Moore is anything other than a frigging genius is clearly drunk. Piper Laurie was, of course, a vision in the original role. But Moore plays Margaret with such a panicked undercurrent of terror, that every single scene she is in is almost painful with tension. Not to mention, the absolute breadth of backstory and character details we are given, which go miles to turn Carrie's mother into an ever more terrifying, yet strangely sympathetic character. How can you hate someone who is so clearly lost in their own tortured psyche?

Is it better than the original? Of course not. Brian De Palma's Carrie had the benefit of shock and suspense; even those who had read the book had never felt the full visceral impact of actually watching Carrie White experience both her greatest moment of triumph and humiliation at the high school prom. Unfortunately, no one can ever recreate the first instant of panic we felt as the pig's blood washed over poor Carrie. And elegant though it may be, Kimberly Pierce's update could never accomplish that feeling.

However, what it does accomplish is reminding us that Carrie's story is one that is timeless. You can add texting and Youtube and instantaneous worldwide humiliation into the mix, but the fact of the matter is, kids will always be bullied. Beautiful girls with wretched home lives will be tormented by rich teenagers with expensive cars and no ability to feel. Boys who are a little smarter than everyone else will be kicked around in the locker room by bigger guys, hiding their own insecurities through violence. But no matter what, Carrie White will always be there to remind them that maybe, just maybe, they should think twice about their decision to be cruel. Because whether or not it is a perfect remake, or even an excellent one, a new generation of teenagers need to know Carrie White's name. And Kimberly Pierce was right to make this movie.

Revenge Honey Stabby Points: 3 out of 5