Sea Fever (2019)

Directed by Neasa Hardiman [Other horror films: N/A]

I forget when I first heard about Sea Fever, but from the beginning, I was intrigued. It was partially the poster, partially the title font, and of course, the plot sounded like it had potential. Well, the movie isn’t amazing, but I did find it quite decent, and personally, I found a mostly solid movie.

Never having heard of any of the actors or actresses here, I was impressed by just how quality some of them were, especially Hermione Corfield. She may be younger than me by a month and a half, but boy, what a stellar performance. I actually rather liked her anti-social character, and got a kick out of her being thrown in a situation where she had to interact with others, despite her utter disinterest in doing so.

Of course, most of the cast is strong – though I don’t know the names, the performances by individuals such as Jack Hickey, Dougray Scott, Connie Nielsen, Ardalan Esmaili, and Olwen Fouéré were all worth seeing. It’s also nice that we got a decent amount of personality from each of these characters, which isn’t always a given with movies featuring a smaller cast.

It is true that the story itself isn’t altogether that amazing, but I do think aspects here are there are well-done, such as Corfield’s character diving beneath the trawler and seeing quite a terrifying creature (one of only two full appearances, which is something else I appreciated – they didn’t overdo it), or the argument her character gets in with the others about quarantining themselves off.

As far as violence goes, there’s really only one scene that’s worth talking about, but I think it’s quite a great scene. Of course, any scene that has eyes bursting has to be quality, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Oh, and during the ending credits, they played a totally thematically appropriate song titled “Shallows” by Daughter. I know Daughter only from a Sound Melody remix of the song “Medicine,” so I’m not really familiar with their untouched music, but this song was a fantastic way to close out the movie, and it’s somber and dark sound fit really well with the conclusion here.

For a movie that doesn’t possess a whole lot of originality, Sea Fever had a strong presence. Partially it’s from the fleshed out characters, and partially it’s due to really nice cinematography and a unique setting, and though it’s not a great movie, and maybe you can see the ending coming long before the movie ends, it was still a pretty fun ride, and I’d suggest giving it a chance if it sounds like it could be your type of thing.

7.5/10

The School (2018)

Directed by Storm Ashwood [Other horror films: N/A]

Maybe I’m becoming quite bitter and cynical in my old age (27 is now old age, alas), because I found very little in this Australian film to be worth it. Maybe it’s just my mood, but this struck me as utterly abysmal, and if I rate it above a 0/10, that should be seen as a mercy.

From the very first time I heard about this one, I was expecting to dislike it. When I started the movie, it only took a minute for my preconceptions to be confirmed, because the film starts with a woman waking up in a bathtub in a dark and ominous room. I said aloud, “She’s dead, I’m calling it.” Well, she wasn’t dead, but I was still pretty close to being entirely correct, as it’s revealed an hour into the movie that she had slit her wrists, and it revealed this as though it wasn’t obvious from the very beginning of the fucking movie.

Maybe that’s just a small thing. In truth, it’s not as though this movie couldn’t have been okay, in a dark-fantasy-dealing-with-grief type way. Perhaps that’s even what they were aiming for, and the story of the obvious purgatory could have been one that at least held some mild interest. Instead, I just got a headache, what with the Hungries, the tribe of dead kids, the dead kids who weren’t in the tribe, the Wall-Walker, and the Weepers. The Weepers were dead bodies, the Hungries were ghosts in pipes or something like that, but it doesn’t matter, because it was all shit.

As always, I give credit where credit is due, and in this instance, I wanted to commend Will McDonald’s performance. I don’t get his character whatsoever, but he was having a fun time, and came across, more often than not, much like Jack Gleeson’s Joffrey – he has that manic, playful energy that suits him. The only other performance I wanted to mention was that of Milly Alcock’s, not that her character got a lot to do, but at least she stood out more than pretty much anyone else, including the central actress (Megan Drury).

It’s also worth mentioning that a rather beautiful song plays during the credits, titled “Better in the Dark” (which may be sung by Australian musician Brooke Addamo, also known under the moniker Owl Eyes). I think it was supposed to add emotional resonance to the end of the film, which didn’t work, given the film itself was utter shit, but the song in of itself is quite nice, and unlike The School, pleasing to the senses.

I also wanted to touch on the purgatory setting, which possessed some elements I sort of liked (such as some underground stream-type thing). The school is quite dark, dingy, and sometimes spooky at times, but from the very beginning, I got the sense that they tried way too hard. It just felt fake most of the time, as opposed to organically creepy (in a similar way that the dingy house in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre felt too glossy to be authentic). I don’t think that this hurt the film that much (and certainly not as much as the pitiful story), but it was definitely noticeable.

Right now, at the time of this writing, The School sports a 3.9/10 on IMDb (with 610 votes), and I can understand that, though I think it’s actually worse. Of course, I can sometimes be a dick, but that’s what comes with watching a lot of films, some of which turn out to be quite terrible (immediately coming to mind are films like I Think We’re Alone Now and Toyko Stay Home Massacre). In a better mindframe, maybe a movie like this would work better, but I can only be honest, and say that I rather hated this one.

1.5/10

All Through the House (2015)

Directed by Todd Nunes [Other horror films: Scary Larry (2014)]

I have to say that I found this Christmas-themed slasher disappointing, but I also have to admit that I’m not surprised, given the generally lukewarm reception I’ve heard from this one.

And it’s a shame, too, because I suspect that, more than most people, I was looking forward to this one. Why? Because back in 2011, the director of this film, Todd Nunes, directed a 13-minute short titled Here Comes Santa. This is a short which I reviewed on my now-defunct Beyond the Darkened Door, a horror blog I was trying to run for a short and inconsistent time in my college days.

To keep things short, I found Here Comes Santa a pretty well-made short. I gave it a glowing review, and definitely saw potential should the director attempt a full-length version of the story.

But to all hope comes death, as the poets say, and the final product here just felt more hollow than anything. Which isn’t to say that the movie doesn’t have strong points, but really, aside from gore, what does All Through the House really have going for it?

I will say that I like the base idea of the film – three young women terrorized by a killer wearing Santa garb while helping to decorate a large house – but the story beyond this, what with the mystery of the focal character’s mother and another character’s missing daughter just sort of fell off the rails.

Again, I have to mention the failed potential here, because while neither of these mysteries were up there with those seen in classic giallos, it still brought a little additional element to the movie, but come the finale, the answers we get aren’t really that satisfying to me.

For what it’s worth, I thought most of the marginally more important performances were decent. It’s not likely that many would be blown away by Ashley Mary Nunes, Melynda Kiring, Jason Ray Schumacher, or Natalie Montera, but they all do fine enough with what little character they get to play around with.

That’s part of the problem, really. Most of these characters just seem shallow, and I don’t think we even get to know the main character of Rachel (Nunes) all that well. More than anything, this movie feels like an excuse to show off decent gore effects, which, while certainly appreciated, isn’t enough to keep interest in a story going. Had the mystery here been handled a bit differently, then maybe we’re talking another story, but with what we got, it just didn’t do it.

There’s also something that should be said about the editing. I don’t think I’m the guy to say it, because I’m not a film-maker, and I have literally no idea what goes into production and post-production of films, and thus lack the vocabulary to explain my problem, but the editing here just felt off at times. I sensed it from the very beginning, and though I can’t put a finger on why things felt off, I know that, to me, they did.

Overall, you have some impressive gory scenes here, but once you get past that, I don’t think there’s a lot holding this one up, and as far as Christmas-themed horror films go, I think that All Through the House will end up in the forgotten category more so than anything else. Definitely not a great experience, and a film I found rather below average.

5/10

The Furies (2019)

Directed by Tony D’Aquino [Other horror films: N/A]

I feel like The Furies had something going for it, but it wasn’t able to fully use it’s strong points to it’s advantage. While not a movie without merit, I doubt that, in the end, it’ll make much of an impression for many who see it.

Human-hunting-human movies aren’t a new concept (just check out Naked Fear, or Turkey Shoot, or Bloodlust!, or The Most Dangerous Game), but this one managed to throw in a few ideas that at least gave it a little more identity, being how the masked killers (the ‘Beasts’) were sort of supposed to protect one of the kidnapped women (the ‘Beauties’). It’s also Australian, so it has quality accents. At the same time, I don’t really know if this was explained well enough, or really delved into in enough detail to qualify it as that impressive an addition to the sub-genre.

I think that’s my biggest problem, by the way. Certainly this movie knew what it was doing in terms of special effects (which I’ll touch on shortly), but the plot felt like it was missing something. Whether that something has to do with the lack of explanation received or something more, I can’t really pinpoint, but I can say that I felt they could have done more (and the film was only around 82 minutes, which was sort of refreshing, but like I said, maybe adding a little more meat would have been beneficial).

As far as performances go, I don’t think anyone really blew me away. Certainly both Airlie Dodds and Linda Ngo (whose character had some undisclosed anxiety issue or something, it felt like) did well, as did Taylor Ferguson, but no one here stood out that much above the rest. It may just have been the nature of the story, but the actresses and actors here didn’t really do much either way for my experience.

Where the film really nails it is in the special effects. Well, “really nails it” may be a bit of a stretch, as some of these kills (such as a head getting split in half by an ax) looked a bit too CGI, but many of the kills and violence were of decent quality, such as an ax being pushed into a woman’s face, eventually cutting off quite a bit of it, and there’s that throat-slitting toward the end. Someone’s arms get ripped off (this particular piece of violence is off-screen, but we do see the body afterwards), someone’s hand is mostly cut off – I mean, this movie was violent at times. I just wish there was a little more to it than that.

And when all is said and done, that’s probably my take on this Australian movie. The Furies was okay – I didn’t have a bad time watching it or anything. It’s just that I didn’t have a good time watching it, and I really felt that more could have been done with what they had. Below average, but not disastrously so. For a better take on the basic idea, you might want to check out The Hunt, which came out a year later.

6/10

If a Tree Falls (2010)

Directed by Gabriel Carrer [Other horror films: Desperate Souls (2005), Kill (2011), The Demolisher (2015), Death on Scenic Drive (2017), For the Sake of Vicious (2020)]

This is one of the films I watched during an October challenge, and I think it was the year I watched 275 movies in a single month, mainly because I didn’t remember any of this, and I do mean any of it. It felt like a completely new movie, but I have seen it before, so I was hoping for a more memorable occasion this time around.

And I think it will be more memorable, but not in any good way.

Ponderously and pathetically bare-bones, If a Tree Falls is almost entirely void of anything worth seeing. The plot is simple, the only mildly interesting thing about it being characters that were brother and sister, and most of the film deals with people running from other people.

The killers (there were something like six of them for some goddamn reason) were like ultra-cheap rip-offs from The Strangers. Their reasoning, though, is even worse, as a character explains “We find the ones who will never be found.” That’s why they killed three of the four characters and kept the other one alive – because killing is finding and ones that are not found are alive people or something.

Yeah, it makes zero sense, I know.

Aside from the fact that this film was painfully repetitive, it also suffered from somewhat lousy audio, with the music going above the voices multiple times. It didn’t matter, really, as no one in the film was capable of having a conversation worth hearing, but mix that with some shoddy camera-work, and you have what the kids call “shit.”

This may be worth mentioning. When I saw this film years ago, I watched a version that was around 77 minutes, but this time around, I watched what IMDb labels as “the 10th anniversary edition” which runs 89 minutes. I have no idea what was added or changed, and I sort of wonder if I’d have liked the shorter version more, but there you go.

Ry Barrett, Breanne TeBoekhorst, Jennifer De Lucia, and Daniel Zuccala are generally not great. I don’t blame any of them, though, as even if they were the most stellar performances in the history of cinema, the movie would still be God-awful.

And it was indeed God-awful. I did like the exploitation vibe that If a Tree Falls occasionally attempted to give off, but that doesn’t excuse the utter lack of story or meaningful antagonists or the atrociously terrible conclusion. I mean, there were sometimes okay special effects, but when the final product has this much wrong with it, it really doesn’t matter.

I don’t know what happens if a tree falls, and this movie didn’t let me in on the secret (I’m guessing it’s one of those pseudo-intellectual titles that might have some relevance to the movie in a roundabout way). It also wasn’t entertaining, and I hated it. I’ll give it points for being filmed in Canada and having some attractive women in it. Elsewise, there’s virtually nothing going for this.

3/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below to the disappointment of Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I as we discuss If a Tree Falls.

Dark Haul (2014)

Directed by Colin Theys [Other horror films: Banshee!!! (2008), Remains (2011), Dead Souls (2012), Deep in the Darkness (2014), Stalker’s Prey (2017), Stalker’s Prey 2 (2020), A Predator Returns (2021)]

So before I get into this atrocity (as much as I don’t really want to spend time on this), let me first recount why I watched this.

Back in March of 2017, I was pretty much recording any horror movie that was on television to watch, no matter how bad it sounded, no matter how much I thought I’d hate them (it was for this reason I recorded both 2-Headed Shark Attack and Finders Keepers). And so despite how terrible this sounded, I recorded it onto my DVR. Fast forward to the early days of 2021 (this is being written on the third of January), and I finally took the time to watch it.

I’ll give it that it tried something newish, or at least newish to me. Dark Haul (also known under the name Monster Truck, which is the title I recorded it under) is a fantasy-horror mix about a demon being born along with a superhuman sister with powers that aren’t fully delved into (she has sort of a warbling wave that can contact and calm her winged brethren) that are imprisoned by a religious group named he Keepers who believe in an end-of-the-world prophecy and such.

And bad things happen.

Within the Keepers, there is a hardliner who believes both the demon and the sister are evil, this hardliner played by Tom Sizemore. The leader of the Keepers is more moderate, and treats the humanoid sister more humanely, though still keeps her a prisoner. This kind gent is Rick Ravanello. The superhuman sister is Evalena Marie. There’s also a priest played by Kevin Shea who does a few things, though he’s not terribly important.

Perhaps if I were a fan of fantasy, I would have dug this more. Certainly the theological disagreements over the meaning of a specific prophecy were somewhat interesting to listen to, but the fantasy-action scenes didn’t do it for me, and when the demon escapes and the film veers more a horror direction, the CGI was so inept that it was painfully laughable.

I don’t fault the performances. Sure, Sizemore (of The Relic, Bottom Feeder, and Visible Scars) came across as ridiculously over-the-top sinister, but the movie almost portrays him as an unsung hero, especially when, at the end, Rick Ravenello’s character agrees with his tactics. Evalena Marie’s character was easy to root for, but in some ways, her success seemed to mean the end of the world. Kevin Shea (who I’ve seen in a surprising amount of low-budget horror films, such as Remains, Sasquatch Assault, Banshee!!!, and Dead Souls, some of which have the same director as this film, Colin Theys) was okay, but his character didn’t really get enough licks in to matter.

Still, I think most of the people involved gave it the best they could. I never personally felt any strong emotions toward any of them, even during scenes where you’d think an emotional response would be likely, but my problem with Dark Haul is the story, not the performances.

And the story is pretty lackluster, especially given I’m not a fantasy fan, but what’s worse was that hideous CGI, especially during some of the kills. A guy gets ripped in half, his organs falling out, and all I can wonder is how much that green screen cost. It was as pathetic and non-threatening as you could expect from a Syfy film.

Dark Haul was an easy film to get through, especially because I knew what I was working with within the first ten minutes of the film, but it was far from an enjoyable experience, and while I appreciated the fact that the writers went with a different approach, the fantasy aspects didn’t do it for me, and I thought everything else was embarrassingly weak also.

4/10

The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Directed by Stacy Title [Other horror films: Hood of Horror (2006)]

Ever since I first saw the trailer to this one, I thought it looked pretty atrocious. A friend of mine saw it, and rather despised it. And I pretty much forgot about it until a guy at work recommended I watch it, and while I dilly-dallied in doing so, I finally sat down and got through this.

The best I can say about The Bye Bye Man is that it’s largely inoffensive. There’s really little here of major substance, and I found most of the content far more generic than I did anger-inducingly stupid (such as Stay Alive). To be sure, when that’s the best thing I can say about a movie, you know things aren’t working the way they should.

In all honesty, about half-way through the movie, it hit me that this reminded me of a poorly-made Syfy movie, only with a bigger budget. It had the same jump scares, the same feel, the same mediocrity that you might find in films such as Karma or The Night Before Halloween. It’s not like the movie is necessarily terrible, it’s just exceptionally bland and largely unremarkable.

Of the central performances, only Carrie-Anne Moss marginally intrigued me. Moss (who I know most from The Matrix and a recurring role in Jessica Jones, among other MCU Netflix shows) didn’t really have a lot of screen-time, nor did she ever do anything close to interesting, but she showed more promise than the cookie cutter characters the movie focused on.

Douglas Smith (who also, as random as this is, starred in Santa’s Slay), Lucien Laviscount, and Cressida Bonas made for rather uninteresting central characters. There’s a bit of a jealousy angle thrown in, but I never get the sense that we know these people well enough for any of this to really make an emotional impact.

Most of the other faces that show up are inconsequential, from Michael Trucco (Hush) and Jenna Kanell (Terrifier) to Cleo King and Leigh Whannell (Saw and Insidious). Whannell, for instance, was nice to see, but he also had a shotgun that, when it shot people, didn’t leave any blood, which was interesting. And to be fair, it’s not on any of these performances that the movie didn’t work, as I think most of them were just misused.

There was one face here, though, that caught me by surprise, and as such, I have to go on a side-topic for a moment. I am a man of many hobbies, and one of them is the reality show Survivor (which I’ve brought up before, such as my review on The Lights), and so, when Jonathan Penner showed up in a single scene, I was taken aback. Penner has been on three seasons of Survivor, his first being Cook Islands (the 13th season), and until now, I had no idea he was an actor (and he was also in Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, which I’ve got to see now).

His short scene (which I thought was amusingly typical of his somewhat smug attitude encapsulated well on Cook Islands) didn’t greatly change the movie, but it did give a nice little Easter egg. Also worth mentioning, Penner was married to the director, prior to her death in 2021.

Perhaps far more important than the performances would be the lore of the film, or perhaps, in this case, the lack thereof. What is the Bye Bye Man? From where did it arise? From when? Aside from the opening incident in the movie from the late 1960’s and the focal story of the movie itself, we don’t know anything about what else this thing has done. I would have liked some type of history on this thing.

Sure, sometimes that doesn’t matter – look at It Follows. The difference is that It Follows was a pretty decent movie most of the time, with some very suspenseful scenes now and again, whereas The Bye Bye Man just felt generic and sort of shallow from the get-go, and had they thrown in some type of history (maybe do that as opposed to sending Smith’s character to Whannell’s widow), it might have helped flesh things out a little.

The Bye Bye Man isn’t a movie I abhorred. It wasn’t good, of course, but I don’t think it was terrible. It was, however, very much a generic movie, and honestly, if I can remember this in four weeks, I’m a stronger man than I knew.

5/10

Camp Hideaway Massacre (2018)

Directed by Skip Bizr [Other horror films: N/A] & Ted Moehring [Other horror films: Bloodbath in the House of Knives (2010), Invasion of the Reptoids (2011), Camp Blood 666 (2016), Revenge of the Devil Bat (2020)]

For being a low-budget slasher, Camp Hideaway Massacre is almost okay. It’s not a good movie, but it was close to passable. The main problem, though, was that the film was so repetitive, and while occasionally things got shaken up a little, I can’t say I wasn’t somewhat bored (as bored as one can be watching a low-budget film, anyways) at times throughout the movie.

I’m not sure if this was filmed in Pennsylvania (I know the setting definitely is, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was filmed there), but I do enjoy the lush look the local environment has, and while the campgrounds themselves are rather pathetic, it was still what I know people refer to as nature.

As far as the special effects go, low-budget films always get a bit of a pass from me. Jockstrap Slaughterhouse, for instance, had horrible effects, but had a lot of heart. This film has okay effects – one of the decapitations looked a bit weak – and the kills were mostly fine, so I don’t have too much to complain about there.

The issue is the story, though, in which new people get to the campground, and are killed shortly thereafter, rinse and repeat. We go through a lot of characters, and in fact, somewhat interestingly, the main characters could really be the killers (primarily Gutrot Layton and his posse) as opposed to any one victim (the best choice would be Tina Krause, who actually appears for more than a handful of scenes), but that doesn’t really help the overall narrative structure.

Probably as one can imagine, the acting is mostly poor. I noticed that, looking through the cast, it looks like characters who were mother and daughter in the film were played by actual mothers and daughters, which I thought was cool (and certainly shows a strong localized production). Not that, of course, either of these pairs (Jessica and Haley Dittrich along with Danielle and Kanyon Fassler) had much of a chance to shine, but it is nice to see.

Tina Krause is a big name in lower-budget horror, having been in quite a few films (such as Female Mercenaries on Zombie Island and Dead Students Society), and while I’ve not personally seen her in anything until now, she did well. She also had a lengthy shower scene, so no complaints there. I think, aside from her, John Young was probably the best performance, but Gutrot Layton (and I sort of doubt, on a side-note, that’s his real name) had some charm too.

The dialogue was pretty awful at times, and like I said earlier, the largest issue was the repetitive nature of the story. None of that makes Camp Hideaway Massacre awful, and for a lower-budget movie, I definitely think that, in some aspects, they did well (such as most of the kills and skirting on an interesting story), and if it had been cleaned up a little, I think this could have been more a contender than what I thought it ended up being. Right now, though, I don’t think it’s that great.

5.5/10

Goblin (2010)

Directed by Jeffery Scott Lando [Other horror films: Savage Island (2004), Insecticidal (2005), Alien Incursion (2006), Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (2007), House of Bones (2010), Thirst (2010), Boogeyman (2012), Haunted High (2012), Roboshark (2015), Suspension (2015)]

For a Syfy movie, Goblin isn’t that bad. It’s not among the greater outputs from the channel (such as House of Bones or Neverknock), but it’s not as terrible as many of their other films tend to be.

The story isn’t overly original, but it was serviceable here. Some of the elements (such as the strained relationship between the father and daughter characters here, for instance) added some decent emotional impact to some scenes, though I can’t say it ultimately made that big of a difference. Also, it’s worth noting that the finale seems a bit rushed in some ways – it’s not something I want to harp on, because I was at least happy that things were finishing up – but at times it did feel like it was moving a bit quickly.

Tracy Spiridakos did quite well as the lead (and on an unrelated note, she reminded me of a younger A.J. Cook) , and I thought she got along well with both Gil Bellows as her father (Bellows, randomly, played Tommy in The Shawshank Redemption) and Erin Boyes. I appreciated Bellows’ character as a father who is actually as entangled in the supernatural story as are the teen characters, and he did good.

I think that Donnelly Rhodes did surprisingly well (think Crazy Ralph only with some emotional depth), but many of the others who pop up, including Reilly Dolman, Chilton Crane, and Andrew Wheeler, were just on the average side. Julia Maxwell didn’t appear too much, but I thought she had a lot of character, and stood out for that.

There is a bit of gore throughout. You get some disembowelment, slit throats, intestines free of their flesh prison, stuff along those lines. It’s nothing special, and some of it looks a bit on the fake side, but at least they tried. What they didn’t do well, though, would be the CGI of the titular Goblin. It’s almost okay at some points, but most of the time, it’s as pathetic as you might expect from a Syfy movie.

Overall, though, I have to admit that I’ve seen Goblin three times now. It’s not a favorite of mine, but I do think it’s certainly watchable, and though I doubt I’ll see it again anytime soon, as far as Syfy movies go, there’s not much here to really take offense to.

7/10

Carrie (2013)

Directed by Kimberly Peirce [Other horror films: N/A]

Every horror commenter has one or two opinions (at least) that go against mainstream thought of horror fandom, and the fact that I’m not a fan of the 1976 adaptation of Carrie is one of them. Now to be fair, it has to do more with the story than the movie itself, but there you go. Here, while I can appreciate the modern-day take, I can’t say I’m much happier with this version.

Carrie is based off Stephen King’s first novel, and as it is his first novel, while I’ve consistently found it interesting in the way it was written, it’s never been a book I’ve really gone back to for enjoyment (unlike a handful of his other novels, such as It or Duma Key). I just don’t find the story all that interesting, and though I do like the spotlight being shone on the dangers of religious mania, I don’t think that’s the focus that most people in-universe would have to a situation like this.

This version follows the book (and original adaptation) pretty nicely, though with a few necessary alterations (such as Ms. Desjardin not slapping Portia Doubleday’s Chris during their punishment runs, or mentioning that the state stopped Margaret White from home-schooling Carrie). That said, it does feel, to me, like a closer version to the book than the 1976 movie, only with an updated feel (such as a far more prevalent use of technology, which made the scene in which Chris and her father were talking to the principal, played by Barry Shabaka Henley, all the better).

The adaptational attractiveness of Carrie does bother me a bit. She might look a little plain here, and she has the necessary awkwardness, but Chloë Grace Moretz is far from ugly, and I find it disappointing that no adaptations want to touch on the fact that Carrie, from the novel, was overweight and, to many people, unattractive. This doesn’t take away from Moretz’s performance, which I thought was pretty good, but just something that bugs me. Moretz does great, especially with her scenes when with Tommy (Ansel Elgort), and you really got the sense that this unhappy girl was happy, finally, for the first time.

I did like Judy Greer as Ms. Desjardin. Greer’s an actress I know from really random things, such as 13 Going on 30 and Jurassic World to Ant-Man and a single episode of The Big Bang Theory, and she does pretty good here in her role. She doesn’t really add anything to the character, but she was a solid presence. The same could be said for Julianne Moore (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Hannibal). Now, I really did like her performance (and a lot of her dialogue was taken directly from the book, which I loved), but like Greer, I don’t think she really stood out in any spectacular way.

Neither Gabriella Wilde nor Ansel Elgort were great, but I did like the humanity I felt from Elgort. Wilde was decently compelling in her regret, but a face-heel turn like this a week before graduation doesn’t really make up for the times that she and friends made life hell for Carrie in the past. Portia Doubleday was a pretty good Chris, so no complaints there.

One way in which I think the 1976 version was undoubtedly better was during the prom sequence at the end. Maybe it’s because the 1976 movie is such a classic (even if it’s a classic I don’t love), but the prom sequence here just felt sort of shallow and almost tepid. I did like some of the scenes after, such as Carrie stopping that car with her telepathic powers in slow-motion, but overall the finale lacks the feel the 1976 version had, and that dream at the end just felt like a failed imitation of what’s been done better.

If you enjoyed the 1976 version of Carrie, you might enjoy this. You might hate it, also, and find it unnecessary, but since I don’t enjoy the 1976 version that much, it doesn’t really bother me that they made a new version of this. I found this movie passable, and certainly watchable, but still not a type of movie I’d watch for pure enjoyment. I think this movie does some things right, and the 1970’s movie did some things right, but both end up around the same for me.

And I wish I remembered more about the 2002 Carrie TV movie, because, ironically, I actually remember liking that one more than the 1976 version, and thus, more than this version. Until I see it again, though, I’ll refrain from pissing people off.

Carrie is a movie that looks pretty good, and has fantastic production quality and names attached to it, but it’s not a story I ever cared for (be it novel or most adaptations), and as such, I found this below average. Kudos to the guy in the library who shows Carrie how to make videos full-screen, though – he’s perhaps the most stand-up character in the movie.

6.5/10