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Carrie (Shout! Factory) UHD/Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Carrie (Shout! Factory) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: March 19th, 2024.
    Director: Kimberly Pierce
    Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde
    Year: 2013
    Purchase From Amazon

    Carrie – Movie Review:

    There are remakes that offer up a different slant on familiar material - Zack Snyder's take on Dawn Of The Dead is a good example of that. It uses Romero's original in a lot of ways but still offers a fresh take on a story we all know and love. And then there are the remakes that are… just remakes. A new coat of paint on an aging house with popular 'new' cast members in lead roles to cater to a movie going public that either wasn't old enough to get in on things the first time around or simply didn't exist yet. Kimberly Pierce's 2013 remake of Carrie, the Stephen King novel originally brought to the silver screen by Brian De Palma, easily fits into that later category.

    The story follows a shy and reserved high school girl named Carrie White (Chloí« Grace Moretz) who lives alone with her mother Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a religious fanatic who has instilled some strange beliefs in her. The end result of her unorthodox upbringing is some serious social anxiety, and Carrie is, for all intents and purposes, a bit of a recluse. She's picked on by a lot of the other kids at her school, and made to fall like even more of an outcast because of this. The ringleader behind all of this being a pretty blonde girl named Chris (Portia Doubleday).

    When she gets her first period, things change for Carrie. Unbeknownst to everyone else, she starts to develop telekinetic powers. As the prom starts to approach, one of the other girls, Sue (Gabriella Wilde), starts to feel bad that Carrie gets picked on as much as she does. To 'make things right' she talks her nice guy boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort) into taking Carrie to the prom, an arrangement to which Carrie reluctantly agrees. As the prom date looms ever closer, Chris and her boyfriend, Billy (Alex Russell), decide to publicly humiliate Carrie, a move that they may not live to regret.

    This is, for the most part, a rehash of what De Palma already did more than three decades ago. The movie does, to its credit, bring things into the modern age in terms of how Carrie is bullied by her peers but outside of that there aren't a whole lot of differences in terms of how the story plays out. Early promises on the part of the filmmakers to play it closer to King's source material don't seem to have materialized and a lot of this will look very familiar to those who have seen the original.

    Performances are fine across the board. Chloí« Grace Moretz is too physically attractive to function as the 'perfect choice' for the lead but her performance is a good one. If you can accept her as an outcast looking as she does, she's good here. Portia Doubleday plays the 'queen bitch' character well, she's easy to dislike, while supporting efforts from Wilde and Elgort are also fine. Not too surprisingly, Julianne Moore steals pretty much every scene that she's in, playing the deranged fanatic mother character very well indeed. If for no other reason, the movie is worth seeing for her work.

    Pierce paces the movie pretty well. It hits all the notes that you'd expect it to and it looks good from start to finish. There is some inspired creativity in terms of shot composition and camerawork and the score suits the tone of the picture well. There's nothing specifically 'wrong' here - it's just that, as with so many other remakes, we've seen this before. Pierce fails to bring a unique voice to a very familiar story and on that level the movie can't help but disappoint.

    Carrie – UHD Review:

    The HEVC encoded 2160p transfer, framed at 2.35.1 widescreen with Dolby Vision and HDR, looks pretty solid. Colors look excellent and the image is truly spotless, showing impressive detail in pretty much every frame and boasting nice, deep black levels. Depth and texture are frequently very impressive and skin tones look spot on. Shadow detail even in the darker scenes remains strong and improves on the Blu-ray edition a fair bit in this department. The transfer shows no issues with compression artifacts or any other digital anomalies and all in all, it looks really good.

    The English language 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is also very strong. This is a pretty active track, you'll really appreciate what the lossless surround mix brings to the finale, and there's quite a bit of appreciable directional effects to enjoy throughout. Levels are nicely balanced and the score sounds excellent. Subtitles are offered in English SDH and an optional 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track, in English, is also provided.

    The only extra on the UHD is Extras an archival commentary from director Kimberly Pierce in which she talks about her motivations for making the film and expresses her admiration for what the cast and crew assembled for the project were able to bring to it. If you want some insight into what was going through her head while she was making this picture, this is the way to get it. It's a pretty active track with a lot of information in it.

    That same commentary is also found on the included Blu-ray disc as well as quite a few other extra features starting with a new featurette titled The Devil’s Hand: Designing Carrie that interviews Production Designer Carol Spier. Here, over twenty-three minutes, she talks about her love of Stephen King and basing her work on the film on Norman Rockwell paintings to make things look like Maine. She talks about her thoughts on the script for Carrie, wanting to give specific characters and their homes different looks to represent their backgrounds and social status, thoughts on the characters in the movie and the performers who portrayed them, creating certain rooms and why they look the way that they do, location work, how the movie portrays teenagers and how social media has changed things since the movie was made, the amount of planning that had to go into the film's finale and designing sets to accommodate that and how she feels about the movie overall.

    Up next is a new featurette titled They’re All Going To Laugh At You: Adapting Carrie which interviews author Joseph Maddrey, the author of 'Adapting Stephen King,' for thirty-three minutes. He speaks about where King took his inspiration from for the original novel, thoughts on the character of Carrie herself, lots of insight into the character development in the book and the movie, the need to make Carrie relatable, how the adaptation rights wounds up where they did, needing to make the remake different enough but similar enough, how the filmmakers in the 2013 edition intended to make their version more faithful to the book and how it turned out to be more faithful to De Palma's film than that book, thoughts on the performances in the remake and how they compare to the first filmed version of Carrie and lots more.

    The rest of the extra are carried over from the original Blu-ray release. We get an Alternate Ending (on the original Blu-ray release you could play this as a standalone piece or watch the movie with this ending – on this release, you can only watch it as a standalone piece) that includes some commentary from Pierce explaining what it's all about. Complimenting this is a collection of deleted scenes clocking in at a combined length of just over ten minutes: Hail / Chris And Tina Kiss / Billy's Wild Ride / Carrie Levitates Margaret / Drive To Pig Farm / Carrie And Tommy Kiss / Billy Kisses Chris / Margaret Cuts Herself / Tina On Fire.

    After that, check out a few short featurettes starting with Tina On Fire Stunt Double Dailies, a two minute collection of dailies available with or without optional commentary that show how the fire at the p[rom scene was made using actual flames rather than computer graphics. Creating Carrie is a twenty-one minute piece that goes behind the scenes of the movie and plays as a fairly standard BTS piece. The bulk of its running time is made up of interviews with director Kimberly Pierce, actresses Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Greer and producer Kevin Misher. They talk about working from Stephen King's original novel, how the actors got into character and what they were hoping to accomplish with this remake. It's pretty much a plain vanilla EPK style piece but fans will want to watch it. The four minute The Power Of Telekinesis wrangles up Pierce, Misher and a few cast members to talk about how the use of telekinesis in the movie, obviously a big part of the story, was handled and why while the three minute Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise is that great publicity stunt that was done in New York earlier this year to promote the movie that wound up going viral online.

    Rounding out the extras is a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection options. The first pressing of this release comes with a limited edition slipcover.

    Carrie - The Final Word:

    The 2013 version of Carrie is slick. It is glossy, it is nice to look at and it is well acted. It's properly paced and it features some impressive set pieces. It does a lot of things right, but what it doesn't do is separate itself a whole lot from De Palma's earlier film, a picture that by its very nature demands a comparison. Once you start making those comparisons, Pierce’s admittedly polished effort starts to seem unimportant. The UHD/Blu-ray edition from Shout! Factory does give the film a very nice 4k facelift and throw a few new extras into the mix, however, making this one worth the upgrade for fans of the movie.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized screen caps from the Carrie Blu-ray!

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