Most people have at least a passing familiarity with the 1974 Stephen King novel Carrie or at least the 1979 Brian De Palma adaptation of said book. So when I received a new double release of Carrie and The Rage: Carrie 2, I was a little surprised to learn that the 1979 version was not included as part of the release.
Instead a lesser known version of Carrie from 2002 was used along with the 1999 release of The Rage: Carrie 2. Yes, you saw that correctly, the sequel is a true sequel yet it was produced and released before the movie to which it serves as a sequel. This was going to be interesting to say the least. So, here’s a little bit about the two movies in this double set.
Carrie was a 2002 made for television movie that aired on NBC. It is a truer adaptation of the original book with one exception being the ending. It follows the general story of Carrie being about a young outcast, Carrie White, who is generally mistreated and begins to discover she had telekinetic powers. She ends up the victim of a prank by the popular girls and after a huge, public humiliation her anger takes over and she uses her powers to get revenge on everybody that was there and burn most of the people that are present to death. The story is told mostly in flashbacks beginning with the survivors of the fire recounting the events that happened and led them to Carrie’s revenge. The most interesting part of this movie is probably that biggest diversion from the book; the ending.
Without giving away too much, this movie was actually intended to be the unofficial pilot for a television series that never happened. The story is open-ended to allow for more stories to develop into the future. Given that the show never happen the movie feels a little unresolved.
This version does have some good things going for it; first, it was written by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal – the television series) who writes a solid script that is based on the novel and not influenced by the 1979 movie. Angela Bettis (May) also does a good job as the outcast Carrie. As a natural result of time, the 2002 version has better special effects than the 1979 version. Better technology existed and was used. The other elemental difference is that this version is made for television so it provides enough creepiness and story but lacks any gratuitous violence, nudity, or language to make it acceptable for broadcast television. This might make it a better watch for those with weaker stomachs that want to see a movie version of the novel.
The other film included in this set is The Rage: Carrie 2, a 1999 sequel that was released theatrically. While it is questionable whether a Carrie sequel was really needed, it’s still not a bad movie. It’s quite entertaining at times, actually. The premise of this film is that a young girl named Rachel is the half-sister of Carrie (they had the same father). Like Carrie, she is an outcast who starts dating one of the school athletes and later finds that it was all part of a larger prank the athletes do with lots of girls. When she finds out she goes on a spree of her own and, much like in Carrie, takes out everybody she thinks is involved or laughed about it.
Unlike the mass burning in Carrie, Rachel uses her telekinetic powers a lot more aggressively; throwing items with her mind. People are stabbed and impaled by normally innocuous items like compact discs. Because it was a theatrical release the production value is a bit better and Rachel actually has somewhat of a physical transformation as it happens.
In this case, the movie has a stronger focus on being a love story in which a sacrifice is made at the end in the name of love. The cast is pretty solid; Emily Bergl is fine as Rachel (although maybe a bit too cute to be such an outcast) and the likes of Jason London and Mena Suvari round out the cast. Actress Amy Irving reprises a role from the 1979 version of Carrie, which seemed a little odd as this was paired with the 2002 version.
Both films are presented in 1080p high definition with an aspect ratio of 1.78.1 and 1.85.1. The video quality on Carrie is passable, though nothing amazing. Though, this is probably due to its made for TV origins which would limit the quality of the original master copy. On the other hand, The Rage: Carrie 2, being from a theatrical release on 35mm film, has a much better video quality. There is a great amount of detail and an overall cleaner image. No glaring signs of noise or dirt/scratches. It’s a nice, clean image.
The dialog and score are balanced well and there was no noticeable issue with noise or hissing anywhere in the film. The bass sounds are done well and work effectively in both DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Master Audio in the destruction scenes to add that generally shaking feeling of her telekinesis. Audio options are in English on both formats and subtitles are in English only.
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director David Carson
THE RAGE: CARRIE 2
- NEW 2015 Audio Commentary With Director Katt Shea And Director Of Photography Donald Morgan, Moderated By Filmmaker David DeCoteau
- Original 1999 Audio Commentary With Katt Shea
- Alternate Ending With “Before And After” Special Effect Sequence
- Additional Scenes Not Seen In Theaters
- Theatrical Trailer
Overall, these are both solid movies, though probably not comparable to the original 1979 version. However, for Stephen King fans these might be a fun way to see a favorite novel adapted in a different way (and often more true to the book). As stated before, it’s also a good way to see Carrie in a slightly less disturbing way as the made for TV genre generally has a broader appeal and less marginalization of the viewing audience. What I found most interesting was the both of these films speak to a topic that is at the forefront of people’s minds right now: bullying. It is interesting that 41 years ago Stephen King wrote a book that took bullying to its extreme (the bullies and the victim) and this release couldn’t have better timing than it does right now. From that aspect, this is a very timely release.
The Double Feature release of Carrie/The Rage: Carrie 2 is available from Scream Factory today!
Fun Fact: In The Rage: Carrie 2 the character of Arnie, Rachel’s nerdy friend, is a direct reference to another Stephen King novel-turned-movie Christine, in which the lead character was a nerdy guy named Arnie.
Photo Credit: Scream Factory