Kimberly Peirce changes almost nothing in her rallying remake of Brian De Palma's classic about a troubled telekinetic teenager. She doesn't have to. Yes, now the mean girls who pelt Carrie with tampons upload a cell phone video of the attack, and the well-meaning jock who squires the school outcast to prom compares himself to Tim Tebow. But the big difference is the culture around Carrie. In 2013, bullying is the hot-topic high school problem—even Justin Bieber bravely called it "a terrible thing"-- which gives Peirce, the empathetic director of Boys Don't Cry, the audience's blessing to make Carrie's anguished vengeance extra gory. Star Chloë Grace Moretz doesn't have the alien eeriness of young Sissy Spacek, who was 26 and married when she played the doomed virgin. A beautiful, broad-shouldered blonde who's already slain 80 dudes onscreen in Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, Moretz has to work harder to sell Carrie's victim status, hunching herself in half, crossing her elbows tight across her chest, and frizzing her hair into a poof. It doesn't quite work, so it's a relief to see her smile when her gym teacher (Judy Greer) convinces her she'd be gorgeous with a little blush. We all know what's coming, which makes Moretz's tentative fantasies of acceptance as gutting as the indiscriminate massacre that follows. After the betrayed girl slams shut the gymnasium doors, we can't help but think of the elaborate kill lists that school shooters leave behind before they give up and just start spraying everyone.
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Stephen King
Producer: Kevin Misher
Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Cynthia Preston, Max Topplin, Ansel Elgort and Kim Roberts