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Film / Carrie (2002)

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Carrie is a Made-for-TV horror film based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King, first aired on NBC in 2002. It is the second film adaptation of the novel, following the 1976 version. It is an attempt to be more faithful to the novel than the original film - notably restoring the book's Anachronic Order structure, including famous scenes that were deleted from the DePalma film (the falling stones) and bringing characters closer to their original personalities. Ironically enough the ending radically departs from the book.

This was intended to be a Pilot Movie for a potential Carrie TV series, but it wasn't picked up. The film stars Angela Bettis as Carrie. Patricia Clarkson, Kandyse McClure, Emilie de Ravin, Rena Sofer, Katharine Isabelle, Chelan Simmons, Tobias Mehler and David Keith also star.



  • The '90s: Carrie's A Minor Kidroduction is somewhere between the early to mid 90s.
  • Accidental Murder: Chris is shaking as she realizes that she killed Tommy by accident by letting the bucket fall on his head. While she still runs for it and tells Billy they need to leave, it's clear that she's trying to outrun the guilt and subsequent rampage.
  • A Wizard Did It: Presumably Carrie's telekinesis allowed her to revive after being drowned.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Chris becomes a blonde rather than a brunette in the book.
    • Carrie has mousy brown hair in the book, and Angela Bettis's is a few shades darker.
    • The book also mentions that Carrie's hair was fully blonde when she was a young child. In the film she has brown hair even in the flashbacks.
    • Tina is a redhead in the book and becomes brunette.
    • Margaret has fully white hair in the book.
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    • Sue is blonde in the book but brunette in the film.
    • Norma is blonde in the book but brunette in the film.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The police investigation into what Carrie did is covered in greater detail than in the book.
    • This is the only adaptation of the novel to add a direct confrontation scene between Chris and Carrie before the prom.
    • Sue runs into Carrie trying out lipstick and tries to be nice to her, but gets subtly called out for Condescending Compassion.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: To some extent, Margaret. The book describes her as an obese, imposing woman. Patricia Clarkson is dressed down a bit, but still more attractive than the book's description.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Miss Desjardin in the book merely gave the girls a verbal smackdown for what they did. Here, she throws a whole bag of tampons at them and faces Chris's father herself when he tries to sue the school. Additionally, she keeps her head during the prom disaster and is able to help a few people escape through the air vents.
    • Downplayed with Helen, who was a background character in the book. At the prom, she gives Tina a Death Glare when she tries to antagonise Carrie, slaps Kenny for laughing at the blood and is seen helping carry Tommy's body off the stage.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Helen was mostly a background character in the book (as one of Sue's friends). Here she's nice to Carrie at the prom, tries to stop the blood being poured and is also seen trying to carry Tommy out while mayhem is going on.
    • Carrie herself; it's made quite explicit that she had no idea what she was doing after the bucket of blood was dumped on her, going into a trance, only to awaken confused and horrified after finding herself in a bathtub covered in blood. This most likely was done as the film was intended to serve as a pilot for a series based on Carrie, in which after being helped by Sue in faking her death, she would go on the run and offer assistance to other latent psychics she would run into in order to prevent another Prom Night.
    • A minor case with Chris, who is still a nasty villain, but is portrayed as being somewhat more remorseful than her book counterpart. She almost doesn't go through with dropping the bucket on Carrie, only yielding to pressure from Billy to do so, and she screams at him to stop when he tries to run over Carrie (in the book, her last thoughts are that she didn't want Carrie dead, but she does nothing to stop Billy).
    • Sue kind of as well. The tampon throwing from the book is lessened so that the popular girls just surround Carrie and chant "period!" over again, meaning all Sue did was chant. Additionally she revives Carrie with CPR and helps her flee town.
    • Norma was passive aggressively bitchy to Carrie at the prom in the book, trying to mock her with Sugary Malice (and Carrie to one-up her with a witty comeback). Tina also refers to her as "that bitchy Norma Watson". Here, she's genuinely nice to Carrie at the prom, her compliments are sincere and she squeals "you look so beautiful" as Carrie climbs onto the stage. She's also horrified by the blood being poured, when she laughed in the book (though maintains it was more out of shock than maliciousness).
    • Minor example with Billy's friend Jackie Talbot. When the detective is trying to pin the prank on Sue, or at least make her out to be a culprit, Jackie's testimony exonerates her.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • "Miss Dejardin" in the book becomes "Miss Desjarden" in the movie.
    • Chris's Girl Posse was called the 'Mortimer Snerds' in the book. Norma refers to them as 'The Ultras' here.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Tina Blake. While she is one of Chris's friends in the book, she isn't as big a bully and she isn't in on the prank, which she is in the film. Additionally, she becomes a bit of a ditz, while she didn't have much of a personality in the book.
    • Helen Shyres in the book is mostly just a background character as Sue's friend but gets combined with another girl Frieda Jason in the TV film and so has her scene where she is nice to Carrie at the prom.
    • Estelle Horan is more outspoken than her book counterpart. There she just told Margaret not to yell at Carrie. Here she shouts "suck it, you cow" after Margaret slut shames her.
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • Downplayed, as there's no full frontal nudity in the shower scene. Tina is given a Modesty Towel, Carrie gets Toplessness from the Back and the other girls are fully dressed or in underwear.
    • Chris and Billy's sex scenes are removed, as are Tommy and Sue's. The latter just reference doing it, while Chris and Billy are only shown in bed before the prank.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • This time it's Tina who gets this to become Chris's Beta Bitch. However Tina was Chris's best friend in the book so her bitchiness was implied through the association. The only reason she's this trope is because Tina in the book didn't take an active part in the prank like she did here.
    • Billy's friends were a lot less evil in the book. They didn't know about the prank and one of them was horrified when he learned what happened. In the film version, they're fully on board with the prank and help rig the voting. Kenny also taunts Carrie after the blood is poured, shouting "pig" repeatedly at her.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: This is the only way anybody is able to get out of the gym once Carrie locks the doors.
  • And Starring: "David Keith as Detective John Mulachy". This is notable since both the 1976 and 2013 films gave this citation to the actresses playing Margaret White (Patricia Clarkson is credited second here instead).
  • Armour-Piercing Slap: Helen gives one to Kenny while he's laughing cruelly at Carrie.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sue Snell is enumerating Chris' flaws to the investigators after-the-fact. She concludes with "She's a front-to-back, I'm a back-to-front." The male doesn't get it, but his female assistant chuckles.
  • Asshole Victim: Billy, Chris, Tina, Kenny and four unnamed girls who laughed at the prank and Tommy’s death (as well as smirking at Carrie during the prom). They all met their demise. Chris and Billy are killed when Carrie tosses their truck into a tree, Tina is crushed by a basketball hoop, Kenny’s arm is crushed in the gym door until he eventually dies electrocuted along the other prom-goers, and the four unnamed girls also died in the disaster.
  • Beauty Inversion: Angela Bettis as the title character. Drab clothes, messy hair and something about not washing her face or anything definitely hid any beauty that she had, making it that much more special when she went to the prom.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Inverted with Helen. She starts off seemingly as another one of the bullies, but she soon warms to Carrie and tries to stop the blood being poured.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Comes closer to this than any of the other versions, as Carrie survives and is taken to Florida in secret by Sue.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: The '02 version ups this with Tommy and Norma having been splattered with blood on them as well due to being near Carrie onstage when it fell with the former having half of his shirt spilled on and the latter getting some on her face.
  • Canon Foreigner: Detective Mulcahy doesn't exist in the book and the investigation is carried out by multiple policemen. There was also originally a psychic detective played by Jasmine Guy who was cut from the final film.
  • Casting Gag: Three cast members had appeared in previous Stephen King adaptations.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Miss Desjardin is shown hanging from the vent for dear life, the chair underneath her having fallen over. Later she is being interviewed by the detective, with no explanation of how she escaped.
  • Comfort Food: The investigators offer donuts to the people they're interrogating. Sue doesn't touch them, Norma dives in casually, and Miss Desjardin tears apart a donut with her fingers with a stressed expression.
  • Composite Character:
    • Helen Shyres gets combined with Frieda Jason from the book - so she gets Frieda's scene where she's nice to Carrie at the prom.
    • There are several nameless cops investigating the case in the book. They're all combined into one, Detective Mulcahy, in this film.
    • As in the previous adaptation, Mr Morton gets combined with Mr Grayle to become the principal instead of the vice principal.
  • Corpsing: The actresses playing Carrie and her mother have very hard times keeping a straight face.
  • Death by Adaptation: Kenny and Tina survived in the book but both die in the disaster. Helen's fate is not said in the book but she's shown dying too. Subverted with Miss Desjardin - she's implied to die but is one of the survivors being interviewed.
  • Dirty Coward: Rather than go to help Tommy since she accidentally killed him, Chris scoots with Billy just as Carrie starts her rampage. If she had lived, she would have had to deal with the guilt forever.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Carrie had just sewed her prom dress for the occasion.
  • Dream Sequence: Carrie slow dances with Tommy as it is what the prom king and prom queen do afterwards. When she saw a drop of blood on her hand, she's instantly snapped back into reality. This could also count as an In-Universe What Could Have Been had the prank not happened at all.
  • Easily Forgiven: Sue forgives Carrie for the prom that killed a lot of people at the school and says it wasn't her fault. Justified, since for most of that sequence Carrie seems to be walking around in a dream state, and before her powers are activated she seems to have a seizure from the stress of being coated in pig's blood. Plus, when Sue revives Carrie, she ends up getting all of Carrie's memories. So she truly knows that Carrie wasn't malicious.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • At first Chris is smirking as Carrie realizes she's been covered in pig's blood. Then the other bucket falls on Tommy, causing him to collapse. Chris goes Oh, Crap! when he doesn't get up.
    • When Billy sees Carrie out on the road and decides to run her over, Chris screams at him to stop. She wanted Carrie humiliated, not turned into roadkill. She did think this in the book, but did nothing to stop Billy.
    • One of Billy's posse when he's caught on video killing the pig decides to clear Sue's name and say she wasn't involved.
  • Faking the Dead: Carrie is compelled to do this, with the help of Sue.
  • Fanservice: The shower scene has some of the Ultras still in the middle of getting dressed, so Chris and Helen are still in their bras. Tina is just in a towel too.
  • Fan Disservice: Carrie in that scene however is fully nude and in the fetal position from having a freakout about her first period. The blood can be seen pouring through the water too.
  • Fanservice Extra: As a child, Carrie stumbles upon a neighbor who is sunbathing.
  • Flat "What": When Tommy asks Carrie to the prom, she blinks and responds with one of these.
  • Gay Bravado: Roy shares a moment of this with Tommy when they meet up at the prom.
  • Genki Girl: Norma, as portrayed by Meghan Black. She is definitely the funniest character in the film.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Helen is seen as part of the Girl Posse making fun of Carrie early on - even asking Sue "is she retarded or something?" - but she ends up being nice to Carrie at the prom and even tries to stop the blood being poured. She also delivers a massive slap to Kenny when he's laughing at Carrie.
    • Norma as well, who could be seen laughing at Tina's taunts during the baseball game and says in her testimony that she didn't know whether to slap Carrie or feel sorry for her. She redeems herself at the prom by being nice and complimenting her.
  • Hope Spot: A few students when Carrie starts her rampage move to get Tommy off the stage and out, believing he was merely unconscious and needed medical help. As confirmed by the investigators, Miss Desjardin and only a handful of students survived Prom Night. Tommy's would-be rescuers didn't survive.
  • How We Got Here: The only adaptation to follow this route. We start off two weeks after the disaster with the detectives interviewing the survivors.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Miss Desjardin finds Tommy at the prom and warns him that if Carrie doesn't have the night of her life, she'll see to it that he's expelled. It's no wonder that after the prank happens, he tosses down his prom crown in anger.
  • It's a Small Net After All: Subverted. When Carrie does a search for "miracles" so that she could learn about her psychic powers, she has to dig through a bunch of results that have nothing to do with what she's looking for (including a site advertising "miracle underwear"). Still, she's able to find the information she needs without having to go to the second page.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Miss Desjardin's hair is first seen down when she attends the prom. And that's also when she has a heart-to-heart with Carrie.
  • Lighter and Softer: The shower scene. The girls merely surround Carrie's cubicle and chant "period!" at her, rather than throwing tampons. This then gets subverted with an even crueller Kick the Dog moment that didn't happen in the book - they fill her locker with tampons and write 'Plug It Up' on the door, embarrassing her in front of the whole school.
  • Lost in Imitation: Despite being a Truer to the Text version of the book, this film still has several things taken from the original film:
    • A gym class scene that precedes the shower incident (though it was volleyball in the first film). The present day Carrie story opened with the girls showering in the book, and the sequence of Carrie losing a game for her team and Chris taunting her come straight from the 1976 film.
    • Chris gets a Beta Bitch who's in on all her schemes, when she and Billy act alone in the book. Although in this case, it's more accurate to the book, making it Tina (who was friends with Chris but not a Beta Bitch) rather than Norma.
    • Tommy and Carrie win when the ballots are rigged. In the book it's a tie and they win in a run-off ballot.
    • Carrie wears a pink dress to the prom, unlike the red she wore in the book (and thus the "you're wearing red" scene with Margaret has more in common with the original film).
    • Another character discovering the bucket right before it's poured, but being too late to stop it. It was Sue in the 1976 version and Helen in this one.
    • Carrie causes her destruction from the stage rather than running outside the school beforehand.
    • Billy and Chris die in the car trying to run Carrie over rather than at the motel. Carrie also kills them before her mother, whereas the book has Margaret die first.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: This film, thanks to the advance of CGI, was able to include this scene, albeit not at the very beginning. The beginning does show Carrie's birth briefly.
  • Modesty Towel: In the Shower Scene, Tina is in a towel as she's testing the water. This is because Katharine Isabelle refuses to do nudity.
  • Mutual Kill: Subverted. Margaret tries to down Carrie in the bathtub, and Carrie induces a heart attack in Margaret. Carrie turns out to be Not Quite Dead, though.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Carrie at the end of the film, especially when she visits her grave and her mother's. For good reason she hallucinates her mother and Chris coming back to attack her.
  • My Greatest Failure: Miss Desjardin at the end of the film feels traumatized from the night of the prom, and that despite her greatest efforts to protect Carrie, she couldn't stop what would happen.
  • Never Found the Body: In a Description Cut, the investigators say this about Carrie, interspersed with a scene of Sue bringing food to Carrie in hiding, and new clothes to disguise herself.
  • Not Quite Dead: Carrie, where she is somehow resuscitated by Sue after spending hours submerged in a bathtub.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • One of Billy's posse when he tries to claim he wasn't involved, only to immediately see video evidence of helping to kill the pig.
    • Chris when she sees Carrie starting to seize after the prank, and her powers come to life.
  • Only in Florida: Where else would a girl with Psychic Powers who faked her death run and hide in? The one place where such a thing would pass for "normal." Justified in that Sue lampshades that Florida was as far as she could take Carrie before having to return.
  • Orphaned Series: Sort of. The film is a full adaptation of the book that had mild plans to continue as a TV series where Carrie survives and runs off. The ending is open enough to allow for a continuation, but still somewhat resolved.
  • Pet the Dog: One of Billy's posse after getting caught on video slaughtering a pig insists that Sue was innocent, which clears her name with the investigators.
  • Race Lift: Sue was white in the book and original film. Here however she's played by the black Kandyse McClure.
  • Room 101: The closet, of course. However, in this version, Carrie manages to make it into a refuge of sorts from Margaret's insanity, hiding a stash of fashion and gossip magazines in there.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Miss Desjardin gives a pretty good one to the girls after the shower incident.
    Miss Desjardin: I want you all to know what you did on Friday was a really nasty thing. Did you stop to think that Carrie White might have feelings? Do any of you ever stop to think?! Sue? Helen? Tina? Oh, you think she’s ugly, don’t you? Well, you’re ugly. I saw just how ugly all of you are Friday morning!
  • Shaming the Mob: Subverted since the mob is in shock instead of laughing and Kenny is the only one laughing at Carrie. Tommy tosses his prom king hat and glares at the crowd because Ms. Desjardin threatened to expel him if Carrie didn't have the night of her life. Then the silence becomes louder when the bucket falls on Tommy, and Carrie starts to seize.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To She's All That where Tommy remarks that because Freddie Prinze, Jr. turned "a supermodel, but we're not supposed to notice because she's wearing glasses" into a Prom Queen is notably similar to Sue's request that Tommy take Carrie to prom. Bonus points for Carrie outright mentioning Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, of which She's All That is a modernisation.
    • Norma describes Carrie as "a Plathe", referencing The Bell Jar.
    • John Hargensen uses an almost identical line from Hannibal:
    "I wasn't talking to you, Miss Desjarden. When I am, you'll know because I'll be looking at you."
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Carrie. Sue not only revives her following total immersion in the bathtub, but also keeps her hidden long enough to drive her to Florida.
    • Miss Desjardin, at least compared to the 1976 film. While she lived in the book, she died in the more famous film adaptation, and her survival in this version is treated as a twist.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Helen goes "look at your ass!" when she sees Carrie in her prom dress.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Miss Desjardin has this after the night of the prom. Averted with the other survivors, especially Norma.
  • Tempting Fate: Poor Tommy, though he doesn't tempt it. After Ms. Desjardin threatens to expel Tommy if Carrie doesn't have the night of her life and if this is another prank, the bucket of pig's blood comes down. For a good reason he tosses off his prom king crown and glares at the audience, right before the bucket comes down on his head and kills him.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Carrie gets A Minor Kidroduction where she is played by Jodelle Ferland.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sue Snell. After spotting a blood-spattered Carrie wandering around in shock and using her powers in a rage, she rushes to Carrie's house, revives her with Clean Pretty Reliable, hides her for days, and lies to the investigators about what she did the night of the prom. That takes Nerves of Steel.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sue again, over the course of the film. Starts out with Bystander Syndrome about Carrie's bullying, tries to be The Atoner by giving up her prom night, and realizing that it's just as selfish to pretend to be good.
  • Tranquil Fury: Patricia Clarkson portrays Margaret White this way, in contrast to Piper Laurie's Large Ham in the original.
  • True Blue Femininity: Helen, one of the 'Ultras' and a beautiful blonde Girly Girl, wears a blue prom dress.
  • Truer to the Text: This film restores the flashback structure of the book and Carrie's destruction of the town - as well as some other minor things not included in the 1976 version. Ironically it deviates from the book's ending of Carrie dying, and has her survive to escape off to Florida.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Carrie hides herself with a blonde wig at the end.


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