It’s been 37 since Brian De Palma’s 1976 angst-riddled horror flick graced the screen. His film version of Stephen King’s “Carrie” was so perfectly delivered, so visceral and engrossing in nature, there really hasn’t much reason to recreate it.
Want proof? How about the television movie in 2002? Or the famously awful Broadway musical in 1988?
And so it is with this version. As with its predecessors, the 2013 remake of “Carrie,” while more or less faithful to the original film, comes across as ... unnecessary.
Showing that a good story about a harassed teenage girl with burgeoning telekinetic powers doesn’t go down without a fight, “Carrie,” this time directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, gets off to a beautifully gory start, with Carrie’s mother, Margaret White (Julianne Moore), screaming for help in a blood-streaked bed. A giant cross hangs above the bed, candles strewn about. It’s Gothic, and more than just a bit weird. Well, maybe not as weird as the scene that follows. Margaret — in just a bit of pain and what looked like even more surprise — gives birth. Whipping out some serious scissors, Margaret sets out to strike the infant down. But something stops her, and she instead gathers up her daughter, Carrie, and proceeds to smother her with so much motherly “love” you may feel just a tad bit queasy.
It’s not long after that when Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) takes over as the titular character. For those who have seen the movie or read the book, the path before her is one filled with familiar dread and misery. Carrie’s mother, as implied, is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to her religion (whatever it happens to be), going to so far as to mortify her own flesh with some less-than-subtle objects. Her fear of what she believes is happening to the world compels her to keep Carrie on a short leash and in some interesting dresses.
School proves no better for Carrie, who, while already bullied for her social miscues, becomes the center of cruel torment when she gets her first period in the locker room shower. The other girls — the epitome of kindness, no doubt — taunt her, throw tampons and yell “Plug it up!” Oh, high school.
What follows next is hardly a surprise, and the blood that marked De Silva’s classic still runs freely here. Director Peirce hems closely to the story’s religious themes, and she makes use of Carrie’s telekinesis in all the right ways.
The terror that oozed from De Palma’s film makes itself known here, but whether that’s Peirce’s work or simply a derivative of King’s novel, it’s hard to say. Those deeper, more resonate themes could be considered timeless, and “Carrie” circa 2013 manages to re-imagine those angsts in a more modern light.
Still, what’s the point? 2013’s “Carrie” does little to distinguish itself from the 1976 version. And though Moretz is a solid lead, she just doesn’t seem to capture the same pain, the same torment Sissy Spacek did in the original. After all, how many times can we see that prom scene?
Two telekinetic stars out of five.
Dominic Baez is a copy editor for The Daily News. Follow him on Twitter at @Silver_Screenin.