Carrie (2013)

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Carrie (2013) Movie Poster Image
Bloody horror remake focuses heavily on bullying, revenge.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 50 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overarching positive message is that even people perceived as misfits are human and deserve to be treated with respect and consideration -- not because the bullied person will snap and set their gym on fire but because it's just the decent thing to do.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This isn't a movie chock full of role models, but at least Ms. Desjardin genuinely cares about Carrie and doesn't want the "mean girls" to bully her. On the other hand, Ms. Desjardin slaps Carrie, punishes her gym class, and threatens them with suspension. Sue and Danny sacrifice their prom night together to give Carrie a special night to remember. Mrs. White is a religious zealot who emotionally and physically abuses her daughter.

Violence

Violence includes cruel pranks, murder, and self harm. The movie opens with a bloody unassisted birth after which the mother nearly kills her newborn. Chris is depicted as sadistic; she cuts a pig's throat, pours a bucket of pig's blood on Carrie, and later tries to run over her with a car. Mrs. White self harms by cutting herself and is abusive toward Carrie (she tries to kill her as a newborn and later in the film stabs her). Carrie uses her telekinesis in disturbing ways: she impales people, sets rooms on fire, turns over a car and makes objects hit people. A teenage boy is killed when a bucket falls on his head. There are few close-ups of dead or nearly dead characters. A guy threatens his girlfriend if she gets them arrested.

Sex

Two high-school seniors are depicted having sex in the backseat of a car; his bare back and legs are visible, and she wears just a bra. The scene is brief but realistic: thrusting and moaning. There's also a lot of passionate kissing. Another teenager makes out with her boyfriend who in one scene asks her to kiss her female best friend (the best friend seems willing, but the kiss doesn't come to pass). A teenager finds out she's pregnant. Teen girls are in bras and underwear in the locker room scene.

Language

Strong language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "douche," "Goddamn," and more. A teacher tells her students they've done something "s--tty" and punishes them for bullying Carrie. Carrie's mother calls her breasts "dirty pillows." The clique of popular girls makes fun of Carrie by throwing tampons at her and chanting "Plug it up!" and "freak" at her.

Consumerism

iPhone, Jeep Cherokee

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage drinking in a couple of scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Carrie is the newest adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling 1974 horror novel of the same name. Director Kimberly Peirce focuses even more on the bullying angle than her 1976 predecessor Brian De Palma, and the violent sequences are even bloodier: people are impaled, burned, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death; and a mother physically and emotionally abuses her daughter. The humiliation is also just as disturbing: Carrie is ruthlessly ridiculed and even recorded/photographed for being so upset at her first menstruation, and in the film's climax a vicious prank leads to her being covered in pig's blood. Although there's no nudity in the locker room scene, girls do appear in towels or just their bras and panties. There's also a good bit of passionate kissing as well as one sex scene between teens and some underage drinking.

User Reviews

Parent of a 13 year old Written bymomcaresforever October 25, 2013

11&up for Carrie

My 11-year old daughter and I saw this movie, and enjoyed it very much. It was a brilliant remake of the 1970's version. There was a very brief sex scene,... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove February 2, 2014

Watchable...

2013's Carrie was not the greatest so I was a bit disappointed in it, however it's watchable. I think Chloe for the part as Carrie was a bad choice be... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySean Broucek October 18, 2013

Compelling Horror Film Isn't For Kids.

Parents, this intense remake of the Stephen King novel is compelling and well-acted, but the bloody violence and sexuality makes it too mature for young teens.... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCharlietheunicorn99 October 18, 2013

Interview with an annoying parent - then the actual review for Carrie - then a conclusion wrapping the thing up

For the record, I am a fourteen year old male. I've read the book, seen the original, and the emotionally unstable crap comes from just being a teenager. H... Continue reading

What's the story?

Director Kimberly Peirce's modernization of Carrie, Stephen King's iconic high school horror novel, is a pretty faithful to the book. In small Chamberlain, Maine, formerly home-schooled misfit Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) attempts to keep to herself until the unfortunate day when she gets her first period in the girls' locker room. Instead of quietly helping her, the girls in her gym class play a cruel trick on her, and even record her frightened reaction for school-wide consumption. Feeling remorseful, popular girl Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), convinces her lacrosse star boyfriend Danny (Ansel Elgort) to ask Carrie to prom. But Carrie's abusive zealot of a mother (Julianne Moore) wants her to decline the invitation and repent for "becoming a woman." Meanwhile, Carrie starts to recognize that she has telekinetic powers, and a sadistic mean girl plans to once again publicly humiliate the social outcast.

Is it any good?

It's hard to argue in favor of a remake, especially one of a movie that's considered a classic in its genre. Most of the time, nothing good will come of it, but Peirce does a decent if not novel job at updating De Palma's signature '70s teen horror flick. Much is the same -- the oppressively religious mother, the cruelty of teenage girls, the well-meaning P.E. teacher (played this time by character actress Judy Greer) -- just as King described it. If anything, thanks to today's obsession with social media, the bullying is even more pronounced and disturbing and widespread.

Peirce doesn't shy away from the power of burgeoning adolescent sexuality, but then again, it's not like De Palma glossed over it either. A feminist filmmaker, she makes sure this Carrie isn't just a startled victim to her own powers; Moretz' protagonist owns her abilities, delights in them. When she's enacting her bloody vengeance, Carrie is often half smiling. The performances are good (Moore manages to portray Margaret White as more frightened than crazy), and the story still resonates, but the greater question remains, why remake Carrie when the original is considered so definitive? At least this new version will make Facebook-age teens think about the figurative if not literal horrors of high school humiliation and bullying.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie can be considered a cautionary tale to high-school bullying. Is the sort of bullying depicted in the movie realistic, or is it over the top? Does the school handle the bullying incident appropriately?

  • How is coming of age and sexuality portrayed in the movie? Who in the movie has a healthy attitude toward adolescent sexuality? What are Mrs. White's thoughts on sexuality?

  • Does seeing the movie make you interested in reading Stephen King's book? Those who've read the book: Do you consider this version a faithful adaptation? How does it compare to the Brian de Palma version?

Movie details

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