Chloë Grace Moretz steps into the bloodied shoes of Sissy Spacek for this remake of Stephen King's classic horror tale, previously adapted to devastating effect by Brian De Palma in 1976. Moretz is Carrie, a shy teenager sneered at by her peers and smothered by her ultra-religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
Chloë Grace Moretz
Those bemoaning the trampling of sacred ground should remember Carrie has been revisited before.
1999's Carrie 2: The Rage was a sequel-cum-reimagining and the 2002 pilot for a series that never was scored with Angela Bettis' lead performance and attempted to remain faithful to King's novel.
There has even been a stage musical that was, reportedly, bloody awful.
This latest Carrie plays like someone recounting De Palma's version, getting the general plot correct but omitting what made that film so special.
So we get class punching bag Carrie White being victimised by queen bitch Chris Hargensen (Doubleday). And good girl Sue Snell (Wilde) still has school hunk boyfriend Tommy (Elgort) take Carrie to the prom, not knowing Chris plots a grandstand humiliation for the timid misfit.
And yes, Julianne Moore is still the blood-and-thunder mother who believes her daughter's telekinesis makes her a minion of Satan.
But, the original's dark humour is entirely absent, replaced with no-fun self-harming from Moore and performances generally better suited to Terrence Malick than King's gloriously pulpy material.
And like a pub retelling, character depth goes AWOL while the horror moments get enthusiastically amped up.
Led by Doubleday, Carrie's persecutors are blandly anonymous, leaving the group taunting in the early pivotal scene when Carrie confuses her first period for bleeding to death without either the required shock or horror.
Ironically, Moretz herself would have made a more intimidating bully, and is all swan, no ugly duckling as Carrie.
This lack of weight leaves the climactic prom torment and subsequent revenge off-balance, Carrie coming across a little Columbine when telekinetically turning the tables on her persecutors.
Juiced-up CGI powers also lend credence to Mrs White's belief that her daughter is a witch, with levitation and body twisting effects straight out of The Last Exorcism.
And bizarrely for a female director, this Carrie ditches the original's notion that the girls are the brains and the boyfriends merely their hormonal pawns.
High school hunk Tommy here requires little coercion from Sue to take Carrie to the prom and Chris' bad boy boyfriend Billy (Russell, John Travolta in the original) drives the idea of Carrie's bloody debasement.
Not as bad as the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, this is similar to the Let the Right One In remake Moretz also appeared in; the basic tune is recognisable, but it's played all wrong.