Remake culture remains a controversial thing, even as the newfangled versions of older movies keep hitting screens. The new version of "Carrie" -- an adaptation of Stephen King's novel first directed by Brian De Palma and subsequently made into a TV movie and also a stage musical -- is the latest to be updated.
Directed by Kimberly Peirce, who has struggled in Hollywood since the Oscar-anointed success of her debut "Boys Don't Cry, the new film updates the original's story for an era of online bullying and violent school rampages.
Rising young star Chloe Grace Moretz takes over the lead role (with Julianne Moore as her oppressive mother), and the young actress herself recent described why she thought the film was ripe for remaking.
“I was brought up in the era of Rob Zombie movies, which are terrifying,” Moretz told the Los Angeles Times' Gina McIntyre. “De Palma movies are scary, but at the end of the day, it’s slightly cheesy because they didn’t quite have the money they have nowadays to make things look very realistic. I’m terrified of real psycho stories, not, like, I’m going to strangle you with my powers.”
The film looks to be competitive with recent box-office winner "Gravity," which has held the top spot for the last two weeks. "Carrie" could make upward of $30 million for the weekend (roughly what it cost to make), though some estimates are projecting more conservative figures.
Comedian and pop culture aficionado Patton Oswalt spoofed on remake culture with a tweet that asked, "Anyone seen 'Carrie'? Thumbs up or down? I wasn't a fan of 'Sex and the City 2' but maybe focusing on SJP's character is a good move."
The new "Carrie" has been hovering around 50% on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregation site, reflecting the critical split.
In LA Weekly, critic Amy Nicholson captured what's intriguing about remaking the film in writing, "Today, a new puritanism is trickling back up, with politicians and religious leaders trying to keep a new generation of young women from learning how their bodies work."
In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips spoke for many when he wrote, "I admit it. If I didn't love Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie quite so madly in that movie — a film representing drive-in schlock elevated to Himalayan heights, with two of the great 1970s performances leading the way — I might've fallen further into the world of the remake
In the New York Times, critic Manohla Dargis noted, "This 'Carrie' has its share of terrors, certainly, partly because of the seeming timelessness of its deeper, more resonant themes."
In the Los Angeles Times, Betsy Sharkey decried that "Peirce has done a remaking rather than a reimagining" saying the new film is "never able to get past De Palma's singular imprint to make a distinctive statement of its own."
Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocusCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times