Complete A-Z list



Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Julianne Moore, Ansel Elgort, Barry Shabaka Henley

Director: Kimberly Peirce

When Chloë Grace Moretz achieved instant notoriety for Kick-Ass, it was not so much for her acting abilities in the role of the 11-year-old hoodlum as for her notorious potty mouth.

Moretz signally failed to draw blood as the young vampire in Let Me In, Hammer’s dismal reboot of Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In and never managed to kick box-office ass in the simple-minded sequel Kick-Ass 2.

Undeterred, she returns to the screen in the title role made famous by Sissy Spacek playing the naïve young girl who is demeaned by her small town high school peers when she has her first period in the showers and is pelted with tampons and then further humiliated when mobile phone footage of her degradation is released on the Internet. Finally, after realizing she can shatter a water cooler with uncontrolled emotion, she learns to use her new-found telekinetic powers with devastating effect and finally finds her revenge by deploying them with grisly effects at the High School prom…

Moretz, aided and abetted by vivid special effects, is adequate but never comes near to achieving the impact of Sissy Spacek in the original film of Carrie.

Here the acting honours belong to Julianne Moore as Carrie’s cruel religious maniac, self-mutilating mother who introduces the story in storming style, screaming, “Help me! Help me!” as she gives birth to her diabolical daughter on a tangle of blood-soaked sheets.

Director Kimberley Boys Don’t Cry Peirce does an efficient enough if style-free job, despite not having the advantage of the still-shattering climax of the classic 1976 shocker.

While the chills and thrills come over effectively enough, nothing is quite as creepy as the unfortunate sight of John Travolta attempting - and failing - to act competently in the De Palma film.

That said why, you might reasonably ask, would anyone bother to remake Carrie?

The answer seems obvious.

It’s been 37 years since Brian De Palma’s archetypal shocker and a whole new generation of horror film addicts now exists, panting to be parted from their money in exchange for being chilled and thrilled. On this basis alone, a remake of Steven King’s celebrated story must have appeared to possess renewed box-office appeal.

And, providing you don’t recall the Sissy Spacek/Piper Laurie version, Chloë and Company should satisfy scare film fans without really becoming memorable.

(Mind you, this is a masterpiece compared with British director Trevor Nunn's dire attempt in the 1980s to convert the film into a stage musical).

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Sony (MGM/Screen Gems). Colour by deluxe.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 30 Nov 2013