Last Friday, the full trailer for the remake of the 1976 horror Carrie was released. It was fine, not outstanding and ultimately rather asked the question: what is the point in this being remade? Sure, it has been a few years and there is some money to be made if it’s released around Halloween time but it that it? Brian De Palma’s original film is a horror classic. Even though it was released 36 years ago it has aged very well and is still considered a classic of the genre. Many times in the past when horror films have been pointlessly remade it has left people pondering if they care for the original as much. Who remembers Van Sant’s shot for shot remake of Psycho with any fondness, or Rob Zombie’s futile rehash of Halloween? I fear that Carrie will be going down that same route.
My main problem with the Carrie trailer is it gives away the entire film. It admits that fans of the genre have already seen the film, or at least know the story, and so show pretty much everything, from the shower scene at the beginning to Carrie, covered in pigs’ blood rampaging through the town at the denouement. It looks seemingly as though very little innovation was bought to the 2013 version, mostly following the same lines as De Palma’s film from Stephen King’s book. So, if there’s not much new why remake it? Director Kimberly Peirce recently said in Empire that there were parts of the book that could be explored further. It doesn’t look like that much from the trailer, it looks like the money scenes from the original film spruced up by some CGI as Chloe Moretz does her best to glamorise the eponymous character.
I’ve been wrong with trailers before, we all have, I’m sure. I’ve seen them thinking ‘wow I’m not going near that’ and then the movie brings something completely different. Trailers are often made well before the film is finished so much of the time the filmmakers are forced by the money to show at least something they have done to rev up the audience. Trailers are now released about a year before the actual film (see The Amazing Spider-Man) before post production has probably even begun.
However, this trailer just bored me, which cannot be a good sign. It left me wanting to watch the original because I’m terrified someone might collect all of De Palma’s copies, throw them in a fire and leave us with this. It left me yearning for Sissy Spacek’s wonderful performance and to see the young John Travolta and William Katt, Carrie’s rampage without explicit CGI everywhere. Unfortunately the reality is this. Although there have been some good remakes such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 2004 Dawn of the Dead, which offer something new, why can’t we just see some original ideas and keep some films sacred, so we don’t have to refer to which version we are referencing. Too often we have hacks, who shouldn’t be going near the original, making a huge mess of the classics. (2011’s The Thing springs immediately to mind.) Not only ruining the film, but making them more family friendly to acquire a larger audience share.
Sure, it is interesting to see reinterpretations of narrative, hence why Shakespeare or classic works of fiction have multiple reincarnations but King’s narrative is so simple, no matter how great it is, that it doesn’t need this big money, Halloween release. It has a fan base and people can enjoy it still considering how well the story and performances have aged. Sure, no movie is perfect and perhaps could be improved but this doesn’t look like an improvement to me. Besides the inclusion of Julianne Moore, I can’t think of many positives and plea that films stop being rehashed like this. There are many wonderful, indie horror film makers out there with exciting, original ideas that can’t get the funding or find an audience because everybody in the cinema are watching new versions of old films. Horror fans have been stung too long by these remakes, also having a new Evil Dead to look forward to, and we all deserve some new ideas to kickstart the genre into the next phase.