Film Review: Carrie (The Remake)

Carrie is the story a lot of horror fans are already familiar with. A suppressed young girl develops telekinetic powers and, through continuous verbal, physical and emotional abuse, snaps and causes a disaster which is described in the world it takes place in as “worse than the assassination of John F. Kennedy.” Carrie originally started off as a thriller book by Stephen King, before following into several movie adaptations, but it is the 2013 adaptation which has the most interesting reflections on the role of masculine figures within the story.

Now, a disclaimer; I am aware that Carrie was not made as a masculine-social commentary, but what I have seen in my time post-Red Pill is that the movie portrays disturbing trends in how we commonly see males in today’s society. Much of the movie focuses on Carrie’s puberty and coming into herself (the constant display of blood as well as the telekinesis being another potential metaphor) and this gives the movie a decidedly feminine perspective. Which is fine, so long as my readers differentiate between my use of the feminine (the perspective and traits associated with women) and feminist (a social ideology which, to my definition, is not about equality; that’s called egalitarianism).

Carrie’s first view of a male figure comes in when we see Carrie being brought to the Principal to discuss the other girls throwing tampons at her in the wake of her first period, which her fundamentalist Christian mother neglected to tell her anything about; (I’d like to note that it is interesting how perceptions have changed; in 1974 when King first published his book, he emphasized the fact that Carrie’s mother had split away from mainstream Christianity and founded her own religion, whereas in 2013 a increasingly secularized audience is prone to just taking that the mother has just gone overboard. There seems to be a lack of definition or, potentially, an assumed understanding of the difference between a regular Christian and a fundamentalist.)

In this scene, the principal is portrayed as well-meaning, but uncomfortable and awkward in addressing the matter as he is incapable of speaking bluntly about natural facts of the female body, going so far as to search for a word for tampons before finally calling them “…things.” This is our stock-standard definition of a beta; he’s not so far gone as to be completely dependent on women, but from the exchange he has with the female P.E. teacher and Carrie’s surrogate parental figure it’s pretty obvious who has the power in the professional relationship. His bumbling attitude aside, he actually goes so far as to give complete control for judgement and punishment to the P.E. teacher, partly due to her experience as a female and witness to the situation and largely because he is out of his depth. It’s understandable to choose your words in talking about such topic in a professional position at a school, but being incapable of dealing with female students as a principal is pretty telling.

Our next two masculine characters come in the form of doting boyfriend Tommy and badboy Billy. Tommy’s girlfriend, Sue, feels guilty about her involvement in Carrie’s bullying and decides to covertly set her up with her boyfriend. (Again, the 1974 version is different; she actually befriends Carrie first, and the inclusion of social media causes me to wonder how much this has affected our ability to make friends.) Tommy is handsome and a football star, but he’s as Beta as the sky is blue. He has no say for himself in his life, and the verbal exchange where we see Tommy switch his allegiance between the P.E. teacher and his girlfriend says it all for him. He’ll go with the current, and follow the strong willed.

Billy, on the other hand, is a characterised depiction of the male capacity for destruction.
To quote Ian Ironwood from redpillroom;
“Besides our capacity for enduring hard labor, the male ability and willingness to risk his life in the conduct of violence has been valued and despised since the Neolithic.”

We see this embodied in Billy from the get go. He has admittedly Alpha traits (and remember, Alpha, much like success, is not necessarily subject to moral alignments.) and the adoration of his hypergamic girlfriend. (Who constantly battles between accepting his behaviour and questioning-but never rejecting– it. This seems to give her some ease of mind knowing that overtly, he is doing wrong while she is just covertly encouraging it.) He’s not admirable in the sense that his actions are good, but he is notably the closest thing to an Alpha in the story.

Again, this isn’t a story based on males, and for the story to occur properly it actually needs the males to be weak or flawed-or both. Who could say how the movie would have turned out differently if the principal had taken some initiative and another course of action? Or possibly gotten Carrie counselling? What if Tommy had told Carrie that Sue was trying to make up for her misdeeds, and encouraged a friendship? What if Billy wasn’t bat-shit insane?

The only other strong male character in this story is Chris’s (the main antagonist’s) father, who immediately sets his presence from the get-go. The suit, hard-cut attitude and matter-of-fact statements all envision some high paying corporate man, a possible don draper at the business, but this masculine character’s flaw is his “initial” daddy’s little girl attitude, which he promptly shirks once he learns his daughter may have made an incriminating video of her bullying. The principal, who is still portrayed as unassertive and awkward, suddenly puts his hand forward demandingly under the blanket of the father’s insistence she hand it over. Even the P.E. teacher, the strong, maternal figure in this movie, stands behind the father instead of alongside the principal, and calls out her opinions from behind him, which eventually prompt the demand for the phone to be checked. This has a interesting reflection on male-female dominant forms of communication (overt and covert, respectively) and unfortunately, this is the last we see of any good parenting throughout the movie.

In closing, while Carrie focuses on the original themes of the first (blood and puberty moreso than the religious undertones) it nonetheless demonstrates a sincere lack of any positive masculine characters. Hopefully this won’t always be the case in future film reviews.

As always, thanks for listening.

Harkness.

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