I’ve been saying for about a year now that I couldn’t tell which was better, the original 1976 Carrie or the 2013 remake. Now I’m going to settle this once and for all by comparing the two. It goes without saying that there will be spoilers.
The original character of Carrie is clearly disturbed. Pretty much every time we see her, she has a petrified look on her face. I mean, who could blame her with a mother like that? This girl has obviously been abused most of her life. She’s lived mostly sheltered from the outside world.
She also doesn’t seem very bright. This Carrie obeyed her mother 100% until near the end when she finally stood up to her. (“I’m not the only one who can do this”). But even after she finds out about her power, it’s very seldom brought up in the story. She rarely moves anything, and even though we see her studying about telekinesis, the only use it seems to have in the rest of the film is the aforementioned scene where she tells her mother about it and says she read about it. Other than that, I kept forgetting she even had the powers.
As for the school life, we see her picked on by a few students, but the reaction to the pigs blood seems to just come from the pigs blood itself, as well as being fed by her mother, as her words, “They’re all going to laugh at you!” plays over and over right before she erupts.
When she gets revenge on Chris and Billy, it doesn’t feel very satisfying. I mean, she just explodes the car. Even before they ever did the remake I thought that was terribly done.
The remake character of Carrie is, in my opinion, more realistic. Instead of just being always afraid, she has a more layered personality, being into poetry and unlike original Carrie actually thinks for herself, which is a welcomed change. When her mother starts talking about Eve being weak and women being a curse, Carrie stands up and says that that’s not even in the Bible. She then actually quotes the Bible calling out her mother. This is one of the first times you see the two of them together. Original Carrie didn’t stand up to her mother until near the end of the movie.
Carrie soon finds out about her powers, just like the other one, looks it up. But then she uses her new knowledge to practice her power and gain control of it. Nearly every scene shows her using it in some way. You never forget that this girl is powerful.
And that practicing shows. In the original, when Carrie finally stands up to her mother, she closes windows. In this one, she lifts all the furniture and drops it, then lifts her mother. She has total control of herself.
It’s made painfully clear that she’s not liked at school. She’s bullied even by teachers. In one scene she reads a dark poem that expresses how she’s feeling and the teacher mockingly tells her that she’s scaring everyone. Then we have the famous shower scene, where Carrie has her first period and doesn’t understand what’s going on. In the original the scene passes and doesn’t bother her much after that. In this one Chris films it and uploads it to YouTube, where it follows her the rest of the movie, even being played after the pig’s blood falls.
Which leads me to the pig’s blood reaction. Where the first time felt like a bit of an overreaction, this one feels justified. She’d been putting up with everyone’s crap since sixth grade, and this was years of torment releasing itself. This one is definitely more rage-filled and intense.
Which, of course, leads me to the revenge on Chris and Billy. Definitely better. It’s like a two minute scene as opposed to two shots.
Even though 1976 Carrie is a horror classic, 2013 Carrie did the impossible. It took a beloved classic and retold it better. I still love the original, because it’s still a great classic, but I’m going to have to pick the new version as the superior of the two.