Chloe Moretz in CarrieWith just two previous productions to her name across the past 14 years (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss), director Kimberly Peirce’s latest endeavour is the somewhat contentious decision to adapt Stephen King’s renowned novel Carrie. Though it should be taken into account that this feature is a mere adaptation as opposed to a remake, given the iconic status of Brian De Palma’s cult favourite, 1976 offering, the validity of this entire reimagining comes with some justifiably raised eyebrows.

The title role is taken on by Chloë Grace Moretz, as a young girl ostracised by her peers at school and bullied for her unique and peculiar personality, certainly not helped along by her deranged upbringing, where she shares a damaged relationship with her spiritual mother Margaret (Julianne Moore). When an incident in the changing rooms after gym class – involving bullies Sue (Gabriella Wilde) and Chris (Portia Doubleday) – turns the school on Carrie’s side, the few scorned classmates remaining plan a vicious attack on the young girl at the forthcoming school prom. However little do they know, but Carrie has some devastating tricks of her own.

One thing that you can certainly say of this picture, is that it’s not at all scary, with barely any moments that provoke any sense of fear or trepidation. There is certainly an eerie tone prevalent, with a handful of scenes you may want to cover your eyes for, as Moore scratches away at her skin to spine-tingling consequences. Instead, Carrie is more like a Mean Girls inspired, high school drama, focusing in on an outsider, desperately picked on by her obnoxious and superficial classmates. However this is where the film shines, as in spite of the supernaturalism that exists, the themes remain relatable, and essentially this story of a young girl not quite fitting in, makes for an enthralling revenge tale, handled with an astute conviction.

While not as accomplished as the original adaptation, Peirce has done a commendable job in bringing this tale to a new, contemporary world, both subtlety and effectively, using new technology as a means to drive this story forwards – done so with minimum contrivance. The way Carrie’s shower room breakdown is filmed on smart phones and then uploaded online to further humiliate the young girl, adds to the narrative, and it’s this exposure that turns the school against the bullies and on Carrie’s side.

However it is Carrie herself which lets this film down. Nothing against Moretz – as she is an incredibly talented young actress with a prosperous career ahead of her – but her casting in this instance is ill-judged. Sissy Spacek just had something unpredictable about her, something sinister, whereas Moretz is almost too endearing, and you never quite fear her in the way that you should. She just doesn’t quite have that underdog status, as someone that you believe to be the outsider that Carrie obviously is. Nonetheless, it’s still a respectable performance, and her scenes up against Moore are the most enticing within the production, as the tenuous mother-daughter relationship is wonderfully judged. Moore is terrific too, playing eccentricity with so much earnestness, it makes for a disturbingly unstable, maladjusted character.

Peirce has made the correct decision with this retelling of the Carrie tale to aim towards a younger audience. There’s simply no point trying to convert fans of the original adaptation, because it’s not as easy task when it comes to such a cult classic. However reaching out to a new audience and demographic, and a new generation of film fans, frees the filmmaker of expectation, and hopefully those who are unfamiliar with the story of Carrie, will be swept away by this creditable effort.