The two Carries: Chloe Grace Moretz and Sissy Spacek (Photo: Sony Pictures/Everett Collection)
You already know the story of Carrie White, Stephen King's tormented tragic heroine who puts the psychic smack down on her high school classmates and crackpot ultra-religious mama after her pretty prom dress is ruined (hey, everyone has a breaking point).
Indeed, even for those who have never seen the original 1976 film, the 2002 TV movie, or read the book (King's first published novel, BTW), there are few surprises in the new trailer -- premiering exclusively here on Yahoo! Movies -- for the story's latest cinematic incarnation of "Carrie" starring Chloe Grace Moretz. It's all there: Carrie is the butt of various bits of humiliation until she unleashes what the movies sometimes refer to as a roaring rampage of revenge. But what is new is the first glimpse at how the new film tackles that fateful prom night, and the carnage one telekinetic girl (with some cutting-edge visual effects) can do.
The story of Carrie White is nothing new, but 37 years after the release (and we do mean release) of Brian De Palma's film starring Sissy Spacek, the telling of it has certainly changed. Nothing illustrates how much time has gone by -- and how much our cinematic storytelling methods have changed in that time -- than in comparing the trailers for "Carrie" '76 and "Carrie" '13.
Chloe Grace Moretz makes for a much different Carrie than her '70s-era predecessor, and not just because she's, you know, an actual teenager (Moretz recently turned 16 whilst Spacek was 27 at the time). Moretz drops Spacek's bug-eyed freak-out act (which was perfect for De Palma's film) for something much more subdued and nuanced, taking a slow-burn approach to this increasingly tortured teenager.
The newfangled special effects also provide a robust showcase for what could be seen as Carrie's "mutant superpowers" -- indeed, the trailer often plays more like an "X-Men" spinoff than a horror flick as Carrie slowly discovers her remarkable abilities. The "X-Men" vibe continues as the new film also looks to be delving into an element of the book that was ignored in De Palma's version: Carrie's search for "other people out there like me who can do what I can do."
The trailer for the new "Carrie" is a bit more subtle that the one for the original, to say the least. This trailer assumes you know the story, and you liked it enough to want to hear it again. It also knows that you're wondering just what modern-day special effects technology can bring to the climactic prom massacre and tantalizingly offers only a glimpse of it (there are no real supernatural goings-on until halfway through the trailer), just enough to whet your appetite (and bloodlust) ... and guarantee that you'll buy a ticket for opening weekend.
Watch the trailer for the 1976 version of 'Carrie':
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One of the most frequent complaints regarding contemporary trailers is how much of the plot they give away, but the trailer for "Carrie" '13 seems downright vague compared to the tell-all trailer for De Palma's original. As is usual for most trailers in the '70s, nonstop and somewhat ominous narration walks you through every single thing you're seeing (in case the visuals themselves aren't doing the trick), delivering unnecessary explanation with an almost absurd frankness ("The girl who lives in that creey house with her crazy mother!").
It gets worse -- you almost don't even need to see the movie itself, as halfway through the trailer you get a play-by-play of pretty much every key moment of the film's third act, telling us that Carrie will "be voted Queen of the Prom" and that for her "it will be a dream come true -- for everyone else, it will be a nightmare!"
The trailer then turns into a highlights reel of the film's grand finale as it showcases several money moments, including plenty of shots of Spacek glaring whilst water hoses come to life, walls topple on students and faculty members and the gym catches fire. You also get a shot of John Travolta ("in his first motion picture role") right before he buys the farm, courtesy of Carrie making his car flip over and burst into flames -- apparently no such thing as the Internet meant there was also no such thing as a concern for spoilers back in the day. To be fair, the new trailer also shows Carrie taking out a red muscle car, though instead of just flipping it she crumples the hood like it was slamming into a wall.
What is most notable about the trailer for "Carrie" '76 is its sense of fun. It lets you know that you're going to have a blast watching De Palma's silly freakshow -- it's a party movie, one you should see with your friends. So you might ask the remake, "Why so serious?" The new "Carrie" follows suit with other recent horror films like the "Evil Dead" reboot (and superhero movies, at that) by making everything unrelentingly grim. Indeed, the only thing resembling humor (or even a sense of gruesome levity) in the trailer is a bit of probably unintentional fan service: Carrie is bullied in the vicinity of a swimming pool. Hasn't the girl who tells Chloe Moretz to "wipe that smile off your face" (again, no fun allowed!) seen the vampire thriller "Let Me In"? This young woman is not to be trifled with around swimming pools!
Ultimately, we should be grateful that the two films look so different. After all, MGM hired Kimberly Peirce, the director of "Boys Don't Cry," to bring her own unique vision to this tale of teen bullying and tragic reckoning. If they wanted just a do-over of Brian De Palma's rowdy funhouse of a flick, they would've hired "Psycho" copycat Gus Van Sant.
The new "Carrie" will splash into theaters on October 18.
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- Chloe Grace Moretz