Why’d it Bomb? Carrie (2013)

Kevthewriter wonders why the 2013 remake of Carrie bombed.

This year, Stephen King’s It broke box office records and it seems poised to replace the original miniseries from the 90’s as the definitive cinematic version of the story. What you probably forgot was that there was a remake of another movie based off of a Stephen King novel.  Carrie came out in 2013 and starred Chloe Moretz, Julianne Moore, Baby Driver as “The Nice Guy who Takes Carrie out to the Prom”, and Angela from Mr. Robot as the evil popular girl who dumps pigs blood all over Carrie White.

Unlike the new version of It, this movie did not become as popular as its 70’s predecessor. Instead, the movie barely made back its money domestically and, even counting worldwide numbers, was basically a modest hit more than anything. But everyone knows the story of Carrie so, considering the movie adapted one of Stephen King’s most popular books, why didn’t this movie do better at the box office?

4. People thought Chloe Moretz was miscast
Before the movie came out, many people thought Chloe Moretz was “too pretty” to be Carrie White. Honestly, while the girl is beautiful, I didn’t see it but others just thought there was no way she would be an outcast.

3. Any attempt to bank off of Carrie’s success hasn’t turned out well
The musical was a flop, no one saw the sequel from 1999, and the TV remake from 2002 was going to have a TV spin-off but that was cancelled due to low ratings. The only things related to Carrie that have been successful is the original book and the 1976 Sissy Spacek movie.  This remake just followed in the footsteps of previous misfires.

2. It came out close to the Sandy Hook Massacre
Carrie 2013 came out barely a year after the Sandy Hook Massacre. Now many people thought that Carrie didn’t really need to be remade in the first place. But, if there was a time to remake it, it kinda seems like a movie based off of a book where a teenage girl kills many of her classmates might have resonated with many people during the time something similar happened in real life. Instead, it might’ve actually turned people off from seeing the movie because they might’ve found it uncomfortably close to real life and, therefore, didn’t go see the movie.

1. Many people found it to be a pointless remake
I gotta be honest, I don’t think remaking Carrie is a bad idea because I find the original kind of cheesy. Sissy Spacek is great in the title role but it can be a little silly and pretentious at times in my opinion. That being said, many other people don’t really share that sentiment and thought the original was fine as is therefore it didn’t need to get remade. As a result, they didn’t go see the movie.

And, while I may not have been a big fan of the original, I’ll give it this: it’s way, way better than the remake. Even though I don’t think Chloe Moretz is physically miscast as Carrie, she just tries too hard to come off as this meek, shy girl and it feels like she’s acting while Spacek basically felt like she really was a meek, teenage girl and not someone pretending to be one! Plus, the whole thing just comes off as something with no passion or life not helped by the mostly lifeless acting or the slow pace. In addition, most of the movie just feels like their following the script of the original almost word for word, just with modern things added in as well as a new opening and more gruesome death scenes.

The only good things to come out of this movie is Julianne Moore’s performance as Margaret White (which, I know I’m in the minority again here, but I prefer to Piper Laurie’s) and it introduced the world to the idea that Portia Doubleday can be a great manipulative “see you next Tuesday” (which is also helped by Mr. Robot) and it was the first movie for Ansel Elgort, who would go on to be Baby Driver, and I guess I can’t fault the movie too much for introducing us to Baby Driver, even if his performance in this movie was flat. Also it gave the world this song:

And, to give it credit there, I do like this song and it’s nice to see it played in at least one major film.


Posted on October 25, 2017, in Why'd it bomb? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I watched this just recently and thought it as awful. An insult to the original which is an excellent film. Chloe Moretz was completely wrong playing a social outcast. Scenes where the boys are laughing at her and making fun of her are ridiculous. Boys would be begging Chloe for a date. I don’t think Sandy Hook had anything to do with it. People will go see a good movie. They won’t go see a bad movie. It’s that simple.


    • Apparently the remake was heavily re-edited by the studio after poor test screenings. I have seen claims that up to 40 minutes were cut. The director’s cut, which has not been released, was supposedly much more violent. That’s where Sandy Hook came in. Much of the violence was removed because of concerns about current events. I don’t think that played much of a part in people’s decision whether or not to see the movie. But apparently it was a factor when the studio butchered the movie.


  2. I’m not sure I’d describe Chloe Moretz as ‘too pretty’ exactly. More like she has a certain energy and charisma to her that isn’t completely suited to the character.

    Incidentally it’s been a long time since I read the book but are we meant to find Sue Snell a bit morally ambiguous? Maybe it was Gabriella Wilde’s performance but she seemed weirdly distant and cold here. She has very little personal interaction with Carrie which makes her obsession with Carrie seem… well, more obsessional than empathetic. Then there was her ordering Tommy to ask Carrie out again after Carrie said no, which implied she was more interested in turning Carrie into an ersatz version of herself than the girl’s actual desires (“I want to go to prom so of course Carrie should go to prom”). Not that Sue’s intentions aren’t good but she does come across as a little creepy.


    • I guess I can see that. Though Chloe at least tried to be like the character (emphasis on tried). That might also make more sense as to why I saw people trying to offer other suggestions for who could play the character that, to me, are just as pretty as Chloe. I mean, I saw people saying Emma Stone or Elle Fanning should play Carrie (although then again I love Emma Stone but she too is way too charismatic for the character). As for Gabriella, I think it was her performance because, of all the actors, she gave the most wooden performance of them all. It was pretty damn bad. One scene that sticks out is when she’s fighting with Chris. Portia Doubleday is at least trying to sound like she’s in an argument while she is just reciting her lines. It almost feels like the two are in a completely different scene, even as they face each other and share the screen together!


  3. I actually liked “The Rage: Carrie 2” (Emily Bergl sold me in having pain; I’ve discussed this with other people before), but I know it was of it’s era of filmmaking, and that was my era, so maybe I have a blind spot:-).


    • We’ll be talking more about that era and specifically that movie in the not too distant future.


    • To be fair, the original doesn’t exactly scream timeless when it comes to it’s era of filmmaking (though I don’t think the 2013 version is going to be that timeless either in about 20-30 years)


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