Carrie (2013, Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A shy girl, outcast by her peers and sheltered by her religious mother, unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

March 19, 2024 10 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Originally slated for a March 2013 release, Carrie was delayed nearly seven months to October. That is generally a good month for horror film. Carrie had a solid opening weekend, but had a huge drop in the following weeks (not unusual for horror films). The film is based on the novel by Stephen King and the 1976 film directed by Brian De Palma. This time Carrie is played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Julianne Moore plays her mother in this version. Carrie is a shy and reserved young high school student who lives with her single mother Margaret White (Moore). Her mother is religious and keeps Carrie under close guard. To say she’s an overprotective mother would be an understatement. After she experiences her first period while showering at her school one day, she is almost immediately ridiculed for this. Her other classmates throw tampons at her and one of them even films the incident and posts it online. Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) is the student who posts the video online and when she’s reprimanded (she’s suspended from school and banned from the prom) for this she decides to extract revenge on Carrie during the prom. This might be a simple case of revenge if not for one little problem: Carrie has telekinetic powers. After a prank at the high school prom leaves Carrie covered in blood (not to mention the death of a character), it’s Carrie’s turn to get revenge. If the plot sounds more than familiar, that’s because it follows the original ’76 film very closely. So closely, in fact, that you have to wonder why they’d want to remake it in the first place. Director Kimberly Pierce made two films prior to Carrie, 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry and the underrated Stop-Loss. Those films both had power behind them, they made an impact and left and impression. There’s nothing particularly exceptional about her direction here. I fail to see why she would spend her energy on a film like this. Unnecessary is the first word that comes to mind for this remake. It would’ve been a welcome change for them to maybe mix things up a bit or rework a few elements, but no such luck. Those who’ve seen the original film will pretty much know everything that happens here. I won’t reveal many plot specifics, but this is essentially the same film only updated in modern day. Think of it as Carrie with cellphones.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t harbor strong feelings for the original film. I like it, but it’s never been one of my favorite horror films. It does hold a bit of 70’s style nostalgia and that’s always a good thing in my book. The character in the original film (played by Sissy Spacek) also seemed more vulnerable than this version. Moretz is a fine actress, but she doesn’t get to do much here. Since this version has been so loaded with effects and CGI, that leaves little room for anything else. At least the effects are convincing. That’s one area with the original film that hasn’t held up exceptionally well. As for the Carrie character, she mostly just stares off into space with a deep look. Moore hams it up as her overprotective mother and she and Moretz do have some nice scenes together, but ultimately, there’s little of anything else. Those unfamiliar with the original film might enjoy this version, but I can’t recommend it openly. On one hand, it’s a respectful remake and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but that’s precisely the problem with it. Several years from now I think people will still choose the original version when they wish to revisit Carrie. I won’t say I hated it, but it did little for me and offered little along the way of actual thrills. If you absolutely must see this film, then rent it before you throw down your hard earned cash for it. You just might be grateful that you didn’t purchase it.

Video: How’s it look?

Visually-speaking Carrie looks pretty darn good with its 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer. I remember watching this when it came to Blu-ray and being very impressed with how it looked visually. Now we’ve got a 4K version that adds a little extra to what was already pleasing.  As we might assume, red is the more dominant color for the latter half of the movie. The image of Carrie walking down her street, caked in blood is certainly synonymous with some of cinema’s most horrific moments and this remake does pay homage to DePalma’s original.  Flesh tones are a tad bit on the muted side, but it’s no fault of the transfer. Colors are strong and bold, blacks seem very deep, rich and consistent.  It looked good before, but this turns it up a notch.

Audio: How’s it sound?

While this might have been ripe for a Dolby Atmos mix, the DTS HD Master Audio sound mix is nothing to bawk at. Certainly the expansive sound field is used with great efficiency and the sometimes dizzying array of effects is a nice added touch.  Vocals are right on the money, sounding rich and well-centered.  While the front stage does take the lion’s share of the sound, the last act does contain some of the better sound effects, with things whizzing by from front to back and side to side.  The LFE get in on the action as well which makes for a very immersive all around mix.  Well done.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The extras from the 2014 Blu-ray are included as are two new interviews.

  • Audio Commentary – Director Kimberly Peirce discusses the challenges of tackling this remake, the burden associated with it and some of the various challenges contained within. It’s somewhat informative, but not a must listen track.
  • The Devil’s Hand: Designing Carrie: An Interview with Production Designer Carol Spier – This is an instance in which the title essentially says it all. Carol Spier, who served as the film’s production designer, tells us of the visual look for the film, some of the methods employed to get some of the more “unique” scenes and the like. It’s not mind-blowing, but nice to have a new feature nonetheless.
  • They’re All Going to Laugh at You: Adapting Carrie— An Interview with Author Joseph Maddrey – Again, the title says it all. Maddrey had the arduous task of adapting this for the 21st century. It’s an interesting watch.
  • Deleted Scenes – Nine scenes are included in all.
  • Alternate Ending – This can be viewed via the home menu where the user can watch the Theatrical Version or the Unrated Version.
  • Tina on Fire Stunt Double Dailies – We see the ending prom scene and their use of actual fire as opposed to CGI effects.  This is available with optional commentary.
  • Creating Carrie – This is more of a sit down with the stars of the film as they prepared for their roles, this film’s comparison to the original and their “plan of attack” if you will.
  • The Power of Telekinesis – Nothing much here, the filmmakers discuss the use of “TK” in the film.
  • Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise – More of a marketing stunt for the film, a NYC coffee shop was rigged for a telekinetic outburst and the various reactions were filmed.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

No matter how good a remake is, it’s usually hard to top the original. Brian de Palma’s 1976 original had some iconic moments and some of those have attempted to be re-created here. But there’s no substitute for Debra Winger and William Katt at the prom. Shout’s new 4K disc offers up superb visuals, good audio and even a few new supplements. If you’re a fan – this is worth the upgrade.

Disc Scores

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