Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Carrie (2013)

Despite my assertion that I would stay away from reboots like the plague, I still had a certain curiosity about what modern cinema would do with some classic stories. Some were... okay, others not so much. This was in the not so much category I'm afraid. And they wouldn't call it a 'reboot', instead they call this a 're-imagining'. 

That is some total douchebaggery that hasn't been seen since Kubrick stole Stephen King's The Shining and changed the story any damned way he pleased. C'mon folks, you took a story that's been told more than once, added an update here and there and you're calling it YOUR re-imagining. Pffft. It wasn't totally their fault I suppose. Unless you're young and never heard or saw the original Carrie, you might think this version is kind of scary. Or not. Otherwise, one can't help but contrast and compare.

And if you're like me, you can't help but find the boo boo's that are sprinkled throughout the movie (the original had more though) and make fun of 'em. The original Carrie of 1976 was full of errors - errors in continuity, cinematography errors, etc. I reviewed it 4/11/13 if you want to take a peek. I thought that at least with more money and time they would be a bit more careful - but nope, the goofs start with the very first scene. Oh and if you want to see the movie - this is just one huge spoiler, 'kay?

As I always do because my brain was mush, I went to the wiki to get the character names and the sequence of events right. The first thing I noticed is the ending the wiki prints is completely different than the movie I saw. WTH? So I looked this little problem up. There are actual several different little touches they added and took away depending on what version you get to watch. I'll tell you what I saw, then tell you what else I found out. The movie itself is set in Maine, but is filmed in Ontario, Canada.

Julianne Moore's performance, while it was obvious she was trying her very best, still had me comparing her with the incomparable Piper Laurie. The movie starts with her (Margaret White) in her own bed screaming, blood everywhere, asking God for help. She soon finds out what the problem is (?!?) when a head peeks from between her legs. Oh c'mon now. Really? We're going this route? She doesn't know about pregnancy? Later she tells Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz) she thought she had a tumor. Nice. 

And we get our first error - or if you prefer, just a movie thing that squeamish directors insist on - in one scene the baby is icky of course and attached to an umbilical cord. The next scene it is in her arms, no cord, no afterbirth. In this version, she considers killing it with a pair of scissors but decides to let the little girl live.

Then we jump to the iconic shower scene. Ya know, the whole movie is iconic so that's the last time I'll use that word. And we get another error. Now if you look up errors, you'll find a bunch of them that could be errors or they could just be the character moving. I'm only including the ones I SAW myself. Yes, Carrie is showering and, despite being a senior in high school, experiences her first period. 

Now it's bad enough that she doesn't know anything about her body (things have changed a lot in the last couple of decades, this is now dated and not very realistic) but they make her first period look as if she's already been splashed with the pig blood. It's everywhere. I'd freak too - anybody would even if they knew what was happening.

And, because this is an electronic world and we've got to include a message about bullying (sigh) the whole event is caught on video on Chris' (the bad girl) smart phone then later uploaded on the computer. This plus refusing the discipline the class receives for their actions leads to her suspension and inability to go to prom. But since she's not smart enough to delete it off her phone, her attempts later at getting her lawyer father to sue the school are not successful. Duh.

That wasn't the mistake. The actress who played Carrie didn't want to be naked in this version, although Sissy Spacek was. She appears to be showering (no dirty pillows, sorry guys), but when she wraps herself in a towel and starts her hysteria on the floor it's obvious she's wearing panties.

We also get things that wouldn't fly today but did when Stephen King wrote the story: The gym teacher (Judy Greer) slaps Carrie to stop her hysteria, then later grabs Chris (the bad girl) for telling her to 'F' off. That's an immediate dismissal and possible assault charges - not in this movie. Which only makes more obvious what's wrong with this movie - it's outdated in places and trying to update it to today's standards was a nice idea but it doesn't really work. 

If you want to see good cinema (with all its' errors - it had a lot) with the great Brian De Palma watch the original. If you want a bloody girl who kills lots of people, see this one.

Carrie discovers through books about her 'powers' and how to use them. In this version she even practices. Her mother knows and fears her which empowers her quite a bit over the original mouse of a girl in the original. I applaud Chloë Grace Moretz for having to carry (no pun intended) so much of the movie herself. She did well - for what she had to work with.

Carrie also seems to have actually read her Bible, opposed to her mother; sex was NOT the original sin as many like to believe and the 'curse' brought upon woman for having sex was NOT blood. The original sin was disobedience and since Eve started it, her 'curse' was an increase of pain when giving birth. 

Although Carrie directly quotes from the Bible when trying to reason with her mother, her mother will tolerate no beliefs but the ones she clings to like a life raft - that she had sinned for having sex with her husband (long out of the picture even though she still wears a ring) and her curse was to have a 'witch' for a daughter. Nice.

We also see evidence that Margaret White deals with whatever emotion she's trying to sublimate by self-harm. We're not talking people flogging themselves for religious purposes kind of harm, she takes whatever is handy and rips into her skin. Self-harm is a lot more prevalent than people realize - it is not a sign of being 'emo' or 'stupid' as I've heard it called - it is a coping tool. I'm not defending it, just acknowledging that it is one of the ways people use to deal with what they cannot face.

Here's a fun little factoid: The reason that the performance of Piper Laurie could not be duplicated, much less improved upon, is that when reading the script, she was convinced this was some sort of comedy and she was supposed to be an over-the-top zealot. So even though she was told this was a horror movie, she couldn't get that comedic element out of her head - which is what made her performance so excellent.

But to be fair, none of these characters could make me forget the original actors and so contrasting and comparing performances was inevitable.

Now. We all know (unless you're under 25 and have never heard of this story) that the whole thing is just a setup for the big-badda-boom at the end. Popular girl Sue Snell asks her boyfriend Tommy to ask Carrie to the prom, while Chris, the bad girl, gets suspended and plans revenge for the things she's suffered. She has serious anger issues. Together with her punk boyfriend Billy in his 1970 Pontiac GTO they get the stuff and get ready to do the thing. At the whatever. Toward the end.

Carrie is making her dress as in the original. Here she is using an electric sewing machine and we get a very obvious boo boo. Now I have absolutely no skills whatsoever with this kind of thing, but they attempted to emphasize that she was becoming comfortable with using her telekinesis and so shows the foot pedal moving up and down by itself. Those kinds of pedals are for non-electric machines. Sorry guys, that was a really dumb mistake.

There's also a tension-breaking dumb scene where the boys all get fitted for tuxes. I don't know if you'd call this an error or not, but the scene shows Tommy and his friends checking out their BLACK tuxes yet when he picks Carrie up he is in a WHITE tux. She has her corsage but not knowing what to do with it, pins it to the left side of her dress. When Tommy shows her it is to go on her wrist, it is on the right side of her dress. Small boo boo.

Sue - in the original - helped with the decorations and wanted to watch Carrie and Tommy so was already at the school. In this version she's at home until Chris for some unknown reason decides to text her about what they're about to do. Since what they're planning could result in a serious assault charge, I sincerely doubt this - but since she WAS stupid enough to record the shower incident on her phone...

So Sue rushes to the prom to prevent the tragedy. As in the first version the gym teacher sees her first and shuts her out. And now we're all set up and I'm prepared to watch this more than once to, you know, be able to poke fun and pick out errors as much as possible. It's going to be easy. They've set the stage up with chairs for the King and Queen of the Prom and where the couple is supposed to stand are markers - which also made it easy for Chris and her boyfriend to somehow aim the bucket in the right place. And here we go.

After Tommy and Carrie are picked as we knew they would be, they stand on the stage. I watched this scene three times to analyze it. Nope, actually it was nine times. Why? Because to get the biggest bang for their buck the 'money shot' of the bucket overturning was repeated three times.

We have one lone bucket. Number one, it's metal - wouldn't rubber be easier and quieter? But that's what was used in the original so... number two, the amount of blood dumped is like someone took a bathtub up there and dumped it on Carrie - there's no freaking way there'd be that volume of blood coming down. Number three, with each take the blood looks different - once really, really thin, once too thick, and no I'm not going to say one was just right 'cause it was just all wrong.

I thought it funny ('cause I'm warped that way) that there were large screens on each side of the stage so the whole audience could see this bloody performance (pun intended) really close up. We also get to see another continuity boo boo: Carrie doesn't have near enough blood over her when they show them on the large screens - her hair isn't saturated and neither is her dress. Tommy also has a lot more blood on his tux than when you see when he's on the stage. 

The audience is shocked into silence - until one of the girls puts up Carrie's "performance" on the floor of the shower onto the screens. Then people start to laugh. Big mistake. Carrie, instead of being kind of 'sprinkled' as in the first movie actually has quite a bit of blood on her and her dress in this one - including the right side of her face and instead of freaking out, she's mad. The bucket falls, hits Tommy and kills him. That part I never understood. An empty bucket kills you? Maybe if it had a few bricks in it...

And here is where our real problems begin. If you've read any of my reviews, I've commented on the fact that when a movie uses a very specific or difficult medium (such as fake blood) and there are dozens of scenes that take weeks to do, the blood spatter or whatever medium is used is going to be different from scene to scene. That is not a continuity error so much as it is just the way things go. You just can't make an identical blood spatter on someone for days or weeks of filming. Look at Evil Dead. Look at the original Carrie. Look at ANY movie that tries to have this extreme of a scene that may have taken days or weeks to complete.

I do know this: When Tommy is killed by this mystical bucket, he is facing the audience. When Carrie bends over him to see if he's okay (he isn't), his whole body is turned around and he is facing the back of the stage. Also, Carrie looks up and sees sunglasses hanging off the (walkway?) above and sees her reflection in both lenses. Nope, sorry - could never happen. One, it would be doubtful she would even notice, two, there was no light source to see a reflection, three, she was not close enough for just her face to be in the lens. Sorry.

Also, remember those spots on the stage where they were supposed to stand? The views looking down at the stage shows the blood behind the spots. When the blood hit, it went down the front of them so wouldn't it be in front of the spots? Or am I getting really picky?

Carrie stands back up and turns around, the red contact now in her right eye to make her look even worse (the contact was clearly visible) as the two now-killers jump in their car for a quick getaway. No one is particularly concerned until she gestures and like a monsoon the whole room of people, furniture and everything else slams into the back walls (after closing the doors first of course). A fire begins on the stage presumably from power wires she has snapped.

As her tantrum continues, she starts to make movements like a bad mime. Someone said her differing movements were continuity errors - how do you make a mistake when your character is constantly moving? I'm looking for boo boo's, not people moving along as they do whatever. You do notice that her eyes are red/not red in differing scenes however - whether that is a boo boo or just a reflection on the extent of power she's using - you decide.

Sparing the life of the gym teacher who showed her kindness (but not much) she flies, floats, hovers, whatever, to the door to leave the school that is now totally engulfed in flames. Wow, that went up fast, considering people are running out of the gym and it can't have been more than a minute since the fire started or they'd have been dead. But in this version despite the fire, there are handfuls of students who make it out alive.

Carrie is now outside sans shoes. Of course, the blood stains have changed - in some scenes it looks as if her hair was merely wet, other scenes matted. In some scenes her eyes (or at least her right one) is red, some not, her dress is totally saturated so there's no problem there but as I said, constantly changing blood spatter is not a surprise as she is this way for much of the rest of the movie.

Car is obviously empty... whoops...

As she follows the car with her tormentor inside (she walks, they speed through town, she stays right behind them, go figure) fire explodes all around her. They think they're going to get away but Carrie causes the road to give way, forcing them back. They then try to run her over. He hits the gas pedal, showing that his foot was NOT on the gas pedal to begin with and supposedly in the space of half a block goes from 60 mph to 90 mph... sheah right. Instead of our car-changing crash of the original (one car drives, another type of car crashes, before it blows up it's the original car again), this Carrie simply puts up her hand and the car smashes to a halt in front of her like there's an invisible wall. Chris had worn her seatbelt for some reason but her boyfriend didn't - his head is smashed into the steering wheel.

Carrie, whose hands do change position between shots but hey, she's moving around, duh, raises the car off the ground. Chris, looking at her in horror floors the accelerator for whatever reason. And in movie duh style, even though the whole front of the car is smashed in, the engine still runs. Carrie points the car at the gas station conveniently right in front of them (all the lights are on and the bay door is open but there isn't a soul around anywhere) and the car crashes into the gas pumps. Chris' face (having taken the seat belt off to try to get out of the car) goes through the windshield, just enough for her to stare at Carrie before she dies. 

Carrie walks off and another broken transformer sends wires to the ground to ignite gas that has spilled from the pumps (which apparently have no emergency shut off or else Carrie is pumping it herself - I dunno) and we get the huge fireball explosion. Since they also show this from several angles we see that except for one where she is walking away from the gas station, Carrie is in none of the shots.

Whoops, empty again...
But just before that, it is plain, as it is in the scene where she stops the car in front of her, that no one is in it. You think they'd have strapped dummies in there at least to make it look a little more real. Nope. So the whole thing is one huge kaboom but when the fire dies down, the car is still in one piece. Tough little sucker.

Carrie does her dreamy walk down the street, heading for home. Here the cameraman must have been bored or the director watched too many Batman TV shows 'cause the camera does this nauseating flip to the side to show the whole thing sideways. Ick.

Once Carrie is home it follows the original pretty closely - she takes that miracle bath that erases every bit of blood off of her, she's in her nightgown, she hugs her mother, mother stabs her in the back. She responds by throwing every sharp object at her, pinning her to the wall in that crucifix-type position same as in the first version. 

She pulls out enough of them to get mom loose (ouch) and holds her. Rocks start to fall. The rocks part was in the book - it was an early indication of Carrie's powers - she had caused rocks to fall from the sky when she was three and her mother called her Carietta (that's the book, the review says Carrietta).

There's a change here from the original movie - Sue Snell has walked to Carrie's house and even after all she's seen, she tells Carrie she can help her. Carrie is about to kill her but detects that Sue is pregnant. I had guessed this earlier when Sue threw up - it's a movie DUH. If you get a nosebleed, you're dying. If you throw up even once you're pregnant. If you're a guy doing either one you're really screwed.

She tells Sue her baby will be a girl which shocks Sue who didn't know she was pregnant. Oh come on, is NO ONE teaching ANYBODY about the workings of the human body around this town? Sigh. Anywho, because of the baby, Carrie instead pushes Sue out of the house and it does one of those collapses that even though it's almost flat you can still see Carrie and her mother untouched inside. Finally it all goes down and all that's left is rubble (little round river rocks, but rubble).

This is the ending I saw: Sue Snell is at the cemetery with flowers. She approaches the tombstone of the grave (probably empty) for Margaret and Carrie White. The words 'Carrie burns in Hell' like the original movie is spray painted on the marker. Next we see Sue screaming in a hospital, blood everywhere - supposedly she is giving birth. She screams something is wrong, the doctor tells her to relax. From her, um, womb, a grown woman's arm appears and reaches up, grabbing her arm.

She wakes screaming, looking to be roughly 7-8 months pregnant as her mother tries to calm her down telling her she's had another nightmare. That's the movie I saw anyway.

In the wiki, they say it ends; "As a voice-over gives her testimony in court regarding the prom incident, Sue visits Carrie's grave and places a single white rose by the headstone. As she leaves, the gravestone's surface begins to break."

That would have been extremely confusing if that were the ending of the movie. Now the book was kind of a retrospective of what had happened with the case of Carrie White, and court testimony given by Sue Snell was sprinkled throughout the whole story. THEN you would have understood this but.. I don't know where this came from.
Then the wiki says there were alternate and adjusted endings. Huh? 

In one ending they present; "Sue is giving birth to her first child. But she struggles and suffers from extreme and unusual pain, while Carrie was seen to hug her baby instead of the doctor giving birth to her baby. Screaming in horror, Sue later discover she is just having a bad nightmare, waking up in her mother's arms, showing Sue is somehow mentally unstable and in a terrible shock."

Yikes. To me it's just another example of taking a good story and mucking it up. Poor Stephen King. He must feel a bit like George Romero - he's got good ideas to make great movies and people keep screwing with him. Tsk.