Brian De Palma’s “Carrie” is one of the most iconic and most deservedly memorable and celebrated horror classics of all-time. And up until sometime last week, I had completely forgotten that not only did Kimberly Peirce direct a remake back in 2013, but that I saw it not too long after. I feel that says a lot about the two films — that despite being based on the same source material by Stephen King — they are actually different in their own little ways. Even if, yes, they focus on the same titular character and hit the same story beats. One film will continue to live out its legacy as the revolutionary, Oscar-nominated film it is, while the other will likely live out its days through reruns on HBO or, maybe, as a slightly edited-down version on The CW. But why does one impact us so deeply, while the other is, at best, a faint memory? That’s the question the newest episode of The Remaker hopes to answer.
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Though you should watch the video to figure out more intricately why this is, the answer basically comes down to the infamous scene in the 1976 masterpiece vs. the somewhat unearned conclusion in the newest retelling. Even though both De Palma and Peirce are each masterful directors in their own right, De Palma brought a distinct, haunting, deeply-focused vision to the original film that’s kinda muddled in the modern-age telling — even though it’s visually striking. There’s a build-up, a masterful balance-and-switch of tone that comes carefully and deliberately in the first film, and distinct-less and fairly workman-like in the new version almost 40 years later. But it’s not all celebrating old glory and bagging the new kid in town, though. For instance, there’s special consideration given to how Ansel Elgort’s Tommy Ross in the Chloe Grace Moretz version is exceptionally better-defined than William Katt’s.
When it comes to the remake, it’s kinda weird to hear a movie criticized for being both better-paced and skewing closer to the source material, but it’s actually what trips it up. It’s inability to separate itself from other forms of similar media and entertainment is ultimately not only the greatest weakness of the new “Carrie,” but also the biggest downfall of most horror remakes. It’s a good reminder of why some movies are more powerful than others — even if they seem to be doing everything well-enough on paper. In any case, check out the video below and share your thoughts in the comments section.