In general, horror remakes tend to be a terrible idea, with the popular original material given over to some music-video director, starring a group of hot, young actors who should probably have been models instead, and the whole endeavour is given a shiny makeover. This is not the case with the Carrie remake, with a distinguished director, one of Hollywood's greatest young actors, and a four-time Oscar nominee filling out the ranks.
The story is pretty much copy-and-paste from the 1978 original, with a few mobile phones and social networking websites thrown to modernise things. Carrie (Chloe Grace-Moretz) is a socially awkward teenager just trying to survive high school one day at a time, but being brought up by a bible-bashing, most-likely-insane mother (Julianne Moore) doesn't help matters. After a particularly nasty bullying incident by the popular girls, Carrie realises she has telekinetic powers, which would be taken as a sign that she's the spawn of the devil by her mother, so she keeps said powers to herself. But we all know that something is bound to happen that will cause this powerful, tightly wound young girl to unleash, and when she does, everyone in her path will suffer her wrath.
Taken on its own terms, Carrie is something of a success. Grace-Moretz doesn't bring that same nervous energy that Sissy Spacek possessed in the original, and while she's too obviously beautiful to pull off the dumpy look, she is still fantastic in the role. Moore is arguably even better than Piper Laurie as the unhinged zealot, and Judy Greer does good work in a complicated role as a school teacher. Director Pierce handles the build-up admirably, and the visuals of the eventual climax are quite impressive, if a little too reliant on CGI.
So in the face of all this positive stuff, why such a low score? Well, as a horror movie, the remake of Carrie fails completely. There is not a single scare to be found throughout the entire movie, and more often than not, we're left without even the intention of a scare. Carrie 2013 would've worked pretty great as a supernatural drama, but that's not why we're here. We've seen the blood soaked posters and the atmospheric trailers. We're here to be scared. And we're afraid to tell you, you won't be.