• Carrie (2013 - Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)

    Released by: MGM
    Released on: January 14th, 2014.
    Director: Kimberly Pierce
    Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde
    Year: 2013
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    The Movie:

    There are remakes that offer up a different slant on familiar material – Zack Snyder’s take on Dawn Of The Dead is a good example of that. It uses Romero’s original in a lot of ways but still offers a fresh take on a story we all know and love. And then there are the remakes that are… just remakes. A new coat of paint on an aging house with popular ‘new’ cast members in lead roles to cater to a movie going public that either wasn’t old enough to get in on things the first time around or simply didn’t exist yet. Kimberly Pierce’s 2013 remake of Carrie, the Stephen King novel originally brought to the silver screen by Brian De Palma, easily fits into that later category.

    The story follows a shy and reserved high school girl named Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) who lives alone with her mother Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a religious fanatic who has instilled some strange beliefs in her. The end result of her unorthodox upbringing is some serious social anxiety, and Carrie is, for all intents and purposes, a bit of a recluse. She’s picked on by a lot of the other kids at her school, and made to fall like even more of an outcast because of this. The ringleader behind all of this being a pretty blonde girl named Chris (Portia Doubleday).

    When she gets her first period, things change for Carrie. Unbeknownst to everyone else, she starts to develop telekinetic powers. As the prom starts to approach, one of the other girls, Sue (Gabriella Wilde), starts to feel bad that Carrie gets picked on as much as she does. To ‘make things right’ she talks her nice guy boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort) into taking Carrie to the prom, an arrangement to which Carrie reluctantly agrees. As the prom date looms ever closer, Chris and her boyfriend, Billy (Alex Russell), decide to publicly humiliate Carrie, a move that they may not live to regret.

    This is, for the most part, a rehash of what De Palma already did more than three decades ago. The movie does, to its credit, bring things into the modern age in terms of how Carrie is bullied by her peers but outside of that there aren’t a whole lot of differences in terms of how the story plays out. Early promises on the part of the filmmakers to play it closer to King’s source material don’t seem to have materialized and a lot of this will look very familiar to those who have seen the original.

    Performances are fine across the board. Chloë Grace Moretz is too physically attractive to function as the ‘perfect choice’ for the lead but her performance is a good one. If you can accept her as an outcast looking as she does, she’s good here. Portia Doubleday plays the ‘queen bitch’ character well, she’s easy to dislike, while supporting efforts from Wilde and Elgort are also fine. Not too surprisingly, Julianne Moore steals pretty much every scene that she’s in, playing the deranged fanatic mother character very well indeed. If for no other reason, the movie is worth seeing for her work.

    Pierce paces the movie pretty well. It hits all the notes that you’d expect it to and it looks good from start to finish. There is some inspired creativity in terms of shot composition and camerawork and the score suits the tone of the picture well. There’s nothing specifically ‘wrong’ here – it’s just that, as with so many other remakes, we’ve seen this before. Pierce fails to bring a unique voice to a very familiar story and on that level the movie can’t help but disappoint.


    Carrie arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer that presents the movie at 2.39.1 widescreen and as you’d expect from such a recent effort, it looks great. Detail is impressive throughout and the image is crisp and clean from start to finish. Color reproduction is top notch and the black levels stay strong and deep from start to finish. As it was shot on high end digital video there are obviously no issues with print damage, dirt or debris – just strong, detailed picture quality through and through.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is also very strong. This is a pretty active track, you’ll really appreciate what the lossless surround mix brings to the finale, and there’s quite a bit of appreciable directional effects to enjoy throughout. Levels are nicely balanced and the score sounds excellent. Subtitles are offered in English SDH, French and Spanish while Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are provided in English, French and Spanish.

    Extras start off with a commentary from director Kimberly Pierce in which she talks about her motivations for making the film and expresses her admiration for what the cast and crew assembled for the project were able to bring to it. If you want some insight into what was going through her head while she was making this picture, this is the way to get it. It’s a pretty active track with a lot of information in it.

    From there, we get an Alternate Ending (you can play this as a standalone piece or watch the movie with this ending) that includes some commentary from Pierce explaining what it’s all about. Complimenting this is a collection of deleted scenes clocking in at a combined length of just over ten minutes: Hail / Chris And Tina Kiss / Billy's Wild Ride / Carrie Levitates Margaret / Drive To Pig Farm / Carrie And Tommy Kiss / Billy Kisses Chris / Margaret Cuts Herself / Tina On Fire.

    After that, check out a few short featurettes starting with Tina On Fire Stunt Double Dailies, a two minute collection of dailies available with or without optional commentary that show how the fire at the p[rom scene was made using actual flames rather than computer graphics. Creating Carrie is a twenty-one minute piece that goes behind the scenes of the movie and plays as a fairly standard BTS piece. The bulk of its running time is made up of interviews with director Kimberly Pierce, actresses Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Greer and producer Kevin Misher. They talk about working from Stephen King's original novel, how the actors got into character and what they were hoping to accomplish with this remake. It’s pretty much a plain vanilla EPK style piece but fans will want to watch it. The four minute The Power Of Telekinesis wrangles up Pierce, Misher and a few cast members to talk about how the use of telekinesis in the movie, obviously a big part of the story, was handled and why while the three minute Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise is that great publicity stunt that was done in New York earlier this year to promote the movie that wound up going viral online.

    Rounding out the extras is a theatrical trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other MGM properties, animated menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release we also get a digital copy of the movie and a DVD version of the movie as well. The case comes housed inside a slipcase with identical cover art.

    The Final Word:

    The 2013 version of Carrie is slick. It is glossy, it is nice to look at and it is well acted. It’s properly paced and it features some impressive set pieces. It does a lot of things right, but what it doesn’t do is separate itself a whole lot from De Palma’s earlier film, a picture that by its very nature demands a comparison. Once you start making those comparisons, Pierce admittedly polished effort starts to seem unimportant. The Blu-ray from MGM looks and sounds great though, and it offers up a decent amount of extras as well.

    Note: The screen caps below are from the DVD.