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7 Reasons the ‘Carrie’ Remake is Better than the Original

Close up of a white girl's face with blood on it with the words You Will Know Her Name

When I heard there would be a Carrie remake with Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and directed by Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, I was super excited. Would this be a feminist horror movie? It sounded like it! I had actually never seen the original movie directed by Brian De Palma which was released in 1976, so I immediately queued it up on Netflix Instant. I liked what I saw, but I definitely thought it could use an update.

Fast forward to opening weekend, and my boyfriend and I exited theater thinking that we just saw a successful remake. Well, not so, according to the reviews! I feel the need to chime in and set some things straight.


1. The Male Gaze scenes are gone.

The original Carrie opens with a locker room scene where young, naked teen girls run about in slow motion as if the locker room is some naked girl heaven. While I admired the 70s bush in this scene (yeah 70s bush!), I kept thinking, “I’ve never been in a locker room like this.” I remember the locker room being the most horrifying place ever–especially for a teenager who absolutely did not want other girls seeing her naked body. In the Peirce version, the movie opens with Carrie’s bloody home birth. In the very next scene, there is an homage to original opening– beautiful teen girls walk in slow motion in their bathing suits near the pool. The camera dives beneath the pool to view their groins–no 70s bush, but it still gets the point across.

In the scene where the gym teacher punishes the girls for bullying Carrie, in the original version, the camera focuses on the girls’ thighs and butts in their short gym shorts. I’m not sure why the camera lingers on these girls’ bodies. Thankfully, in the remake, the focus is on Chris’s hissy fit instead.

2. Chris is human too.

In the original, Chris has no problem pouring pig’s blood on Carrie–and even gives her boyfriend, Billy, a blow job so he helps her out. In the remake, it’s Billy’s idea after Chris mentions to him that she hates Carrie. I thought it was much more realistic that a off-hand comment would turn into something more sinister.

3. Carrie finally wears a bra.

In both versions, Carrie is putting the final touches on her prom attire, and her mother tells her to cover up her “dirty pillows.” In the original, Carrie goes commando, and you can see her nipples through the dress. Even with Carrie’s new-found confidence, I can’t think of anything more horrifying than showing off your nipples in formal attire. These are things you don’t want to happen when you are a young women, heck, even when you are a grown woman! I’m thinking De Palma probably thought it would look “great” on camera, especially splattered with the pig’s blood. But it’s a little too “sex + violence = beauty” for my tastes.

4. Carrie and Tommy Ross don’t kiss.

In the original movie, in a scene of cinematic artistry, the film spins and spins, while Carrie and her prom date Tommy kiss. Tommy is taking Carrie to the dance at the insistence of his girlfriend, Sue Snell. They haven’t broken up. This isn’t a teen rom com. So why do they share a kiss? Perhaps De Palma is lulling us into The Dream, before The Horror, but I felt it brought me out of the moment.

5. The nice gym teacher gets to live!

Both my boyfriend and I were super bummed that the nice gym teacher was off’ed in the original so we were glad to see her survive the carnage.

6. The Mother gets a quick death.

In the original, Carrie’s mother dies in a very long, gratuitous death scene. For a movie that tries to convince us that Carrie really does love her mother, Carrie takes her time killing her mom. I think it’s a hard scene to watch and considering that many people think that dead women are beautiful women, this scene verges on glorifying the violence.

7. More gore–for the bullies!

Since the mom dies quickly, more time is spent on the bullies’s deaths. And it is a proverbial Final Destination cornucopia of deaths! Death by fire! Death by bleachers! Death by car crash! Even death by high heels!


As I’ve tallied up the changes to Carrie, I’ve realized that the remake has made an effort to make the story more “realistic”—I wonder if that’s why some reviewers feel it doesn’t live up to the original. For example, Julianne Moore’s mother comes off more as mentally ill than self-righteous. Many of the abstract anxieties of Sex and Pregnancy that Carrie’s mom fears, are realities that aren’t actually all that horrifying–in the remake, we find out Sue Snell has been having awesome sex; she becomes pregnant. And the world doesn’t implode. The focus is more on bullying and perhaps that’s not horrifying–it’s too real. And we are too desensitized to see that as horrifying.

{7 comments… add one}
  • AvatarjessicaJanuary 9, 2014, 01:07

    Wow, this is great. I agree whole-heartedly. I really loved that in the remake they didn’t perpetuate the false idea that only “bad girls” have sex or experience unplanned pregnancies. Also, in the original
    Sue and her boyfriend’s plan wasn’t made as obvious (at least to me). Up until Tommy showed concern for Carrie on stage, I still suspected that he and Sue were plotting with Chris, trying to lure her to the dance. I felt that their true intentions were made clearer in the remake.

    • Anne LeeAnne LeeJanuary 12, 2014, 19:13

      I totally agree! I feel that their plan wasn’t very clear in the original as well.

  • AvatarAlexandros MartinezJanuary 14, 2014, 21:54

    I personally like the opening credits of the first (and original) Carrie, since it occurs in the happiest room at Bates High School, where girls frolic, gossip, and whip towels at each other.

    • Avatarathenia45January 17, 2014, 02:56

      LOL I’m not sure about that! I remember once in high school, one of my friends was wearing a see-through bra and my other friend turned around and was horrified that she was staring at her nipples! The see-through bra wearing immediately covered herself up and apologized. It was pretty funny/horrifying.

  • AvatarTheLKJanuary 16, 2014, 13:49

    Totally agree!! i don’t think it even makes sense that there’s so much hate put in this movie!! yeah, there are some simple continuity camera mistakes, but overall the plot is good. the gore is better, it’s creepier, more sensible, the actors are awesome, especially Moretz & Moore! and i love all the deaths in the movie. it’s so epic!! the Margaret White’s actress was terrible at the original.in fact, the only good thing about De Palma’s version is Spacek (in my opinion)

  • AvatarDeci23May 1, 2017, 19:37

    The 7 reasons why the Carrie remake is better than the original in this article show how the new ones characters are portrayed more realistically and how it doesn’t show wasted shots of girls in the nude, etc but one reason why the original is significantly better than the remake which is largely overlooked here, is that the original is actually scary.

    Carrie is a horror movie. The new movie is not scary at all. Chloe’s Carrie is more like a Bryan Singer’s X men character than the terrifying character portrayed by Sissy. Even now images of Sissy’s wide eyes freak me out. Which brings me on to another point. There is no way a girl as stunning as Chloe would have been treated the way she was in high school. Even if the girls did not like her the boys most definitely would have. She was as attractive as the movies “it girl” if not more. That was definetely unrealistic to me and an example of Chloe getting the role more because of her celebrity and popularity than her actually suiting the part.

    The original had more of a supernatural element or feel to it if you will that made it more horrifying as a movie. The new one is more like “Chronicle” and other movies that have more of a sci fi feel where the powers are scientifically explained. The mystery behind Carrie’s powers in the original made her scarier.

    Ultimately, the real reason the remake doesn’t live up to the original is not because the “male gazes are gone” it’s because it is not as scary as a horror movie. It is a remake of a horror movie for a new generation and therefore should have been as scary if not scarier, given the advancements made in technology and film making.

  • AvatarAngie SnowOctober 27, 2019, 15:53

    I think all of these reasons are wrong to be honest. You’re saying it’s more “feminist”? To not show nipples, or nude women. But they’re not being sexualized. It was the 70s, the sexual freedom revolution. Nipples weren’t a big deal. They shouldn’t be now and frankly to even make a point out of that is pretty ridiculous. The acting in the remake was garbage and it was not scary in the slightest. This one holds weight because it’s raw. It shows bodies and emotions and evil and does not play off women as strictly good or evil, the characters are dynamic. Moretz had a pretty flat portrayal, and the shared kiss, and the death of the teacher are what ADDED to the realism of the original. They were not sparing any sensitive feelings. The teacher died in the rage because Carrie was so monumentally upset that she did not think about who would die.

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