Stephen King just may be the most adapted author in film history. From independent films to giant blockbusters and everything in between, King stories are in high demand from film fans and many of the films based on his works have become classics including The Shining, Christine, Cujo, Firestarter, The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile to name but a few. But these films also spawn remakes and sequels inspired by King’s works. Two such films have just been released on Blu-ray from Shout Factory, one a remake and one a sequel to one of the most beloved of all King adaptations, Brian DePalma’s Carrie.
First up is the made for TV remake of Carrie bearing the same name. This time around the incredible Angela Bettis plays Carrie, the awkward teenage girl with telekinesis who is pushed too far by her classmates and by her overbearing and overly religious mother (Patricia Clarkson).
Technically this film would be a new adaptation of King’s book and not really a remake of DePalma’s film, but they are very similar of course. Especially being made for TV, this version of Carrie is actually really well done. Bettis is almost as good a Carrie as Spacek. She gives it a slightly different spin but both performances are excellent. Same goes for Patricia Clarkson as her mother. Piper Laurie’s shoes are big ones to fill but Clarkson does it compellingly and with great gusto. The effects are cool, the slight scene changes and choices from the book are welcome and interesting, and the screenplay by Brian Fuller (TV’s Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) is very good indeed. And throw in a couple of early performances by Emilie de Ravin from Lost and Katherine Isabelle from American Mary and you can’t really go wrong.
Next up is The Rage: Carrie 2. There really shouldn’t be a reason in the world this film that this film work, but all things considered, they did a pretty good job with it. Emily Bergl plays Rachel, a high school misfit who gets caught in the middle of a prank orchestrated by a group of jocks that turned fatal for one of Rachel friends. When Rachel talks to the police, the jocks target her and plan to publicly humiliate her. When a teacher at the school (Amy Irving reprising her role from the original film) recognizes similarities in Rachel to a girl she went to school with, she must find a way to not only protect Rachel but those who dare to cross her.
The Rage: Carrie 2 is actually a pretty fun sequel that is better than it should be. Emily Bergl is very good as Rachel and brings a more confident and self-assured character to the story than Carrie White ever was. The script is decent, the pacing good and the finale pretty spectacular. And the fact that Amy Irving returns as Sue Snell from the original film gives the film a little more street cred as well. There are still some strange choices in how the film is handled (Carrie gets weird vine tattoos when she go’s full on mad?) but this is still an enjoyable horror romp that returns us to some much loved ground from the original film.
The Blu-rays for both films look great and the special features are decent as well. Overall a pretty killer double feature that is sure to please.
Available April 14, 2015 on Blu-ray.