Carrie (2002) / The Rage: Carrie 2 – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Carrie-Double FeatureBack in 2013 we got a “modernized” Carrie remake for “the current generation”.  The thought of it from the start had people up in arms.  The “WHYYYY???” crybaby fanboys and the such angered that a sacred property was being redone.  Yet, they completely were forgetting that its not so sacred, that the Chloe Grace-Moretz film would be the fourth iteration of the Carrie tale in live action form.  This double feature set includes the two inbetween that they were forgetting about.  There was a sequel (which basically was a newer take on the same tale) and straight up remake made for television.  Plus all of these are adaptations from a novel.  So, while the most recent wasn’t a good film at all, nobody should have been complaining about the pre-production like this hadn’t been done already  and been more accepting of another interpretation.  

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Carrie (2002) 

Angela Bettis stars in this 2002 adaptation of Stephen King’s classic tale of horror and retribution, featuring eye-popping special effects and a shocking, all-new twist ending! Carrie White is a lonely, awkward teenage girl who just doesn’t fit in. At school, she endures her classmates’ constant ridicule, and at home she suffers endless psychological torture at the hands of her fanatically religious mother. But Carrie has a secret. She’s been cursed with the terrifying power of telekinesis. And when her tormenters commit an act of unforgivably cruel humiliation at the prom, they’ll soon learn a deadly lesson.

One thing that you need to know before going into this film is that it wasn’t meant to end here.  What it technically is, is a 2-hour pilot for a potential television series derived from the Stephen King Carrie lore.  From what we get, it looks to be a sort of Incredible Hulk type series with Carrie and Sue going town to town and putting right what once was wrong and moving on.  Being television, its even more notable that showrunning favorite Bryan Fuller (Currently killing it with Hannibal) was behind it.

This iteration of Carrie‘s problem is that its its a bit too long and feels lit a little bit.  They’re trying to extend things an flush out stuff that’s unnecessary and only feels like they’re padding for run time.  Aside from that, its funny how much that the latest movie almost feels like its shot for shot copying this iteration and not DePalma’s.  There are shots (And sadly, special effects) I swear looked identical to the 2013 film.  With this one, my expectations are a little lower, so I’m a bit more impressed with this one.

What is fun here is that they actually have this one cast pretty solid.  Patricia Clarkson is solid here even if she’s underplaying it.  But at the time, she went against the Piper Laurie type and did her own thing, which was probably smart on her part.  Angela Bettis is a really solid Carrie.  Nobody is going to compare to Sissy Spacek, but she works here.  This had to be a Canadian production as there are a ton of recognizable faces from those TV shows and productions like the lovely Katharine Isabelle and Chelan Simmons.  Lost fans will note that Emile de Ravin gets the juicy role of being Chris Hargensen.

This film has enough of its “own” feel and take on the material that I was far more interested in it at any given time than I was the 2013 version.  Its a far cry from the 1976 film, but then again, MOST horror films are.  For being a television film, this one actually is pretty decent and is an interesting view as a companion piece to the book and first film.  While there are times that it feels like its being acted and shot by a local video crew, it does wind up being overall fun enough to be worth it.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (box lists it at 1:33:1 Full Frame, but its not)

Clarity/Detail:  Carrie has a bit of an odd aesthetic.  That’s not on this transfer at all, its how it was shot.  It doesn’t look very cinematic, but then again this was a TV movie.  The look is very much like a BBC television show.  The image is a bit soft and smooth during these Surge-green filtered parts.  Well lit scenes, especially the finale in the high school tend to look the exact opposite and its quite impressive and wow’ing.

Depth:  Depth is decent.  Movement does contain a bit of a blur.  Different environments make for a different experience in this.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and a bit murky.  Minimal crushing was present.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid and pretty bold.  Red is a real stand out, but you don’t really get that until the end.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Detail is okay, but a lot of times its pretty smooth in medium and far away shots.  Detail is solid with some impressive moments on close ups.  Like I said before, the money-momentum (Prom attack), looks very impressive.

Noise/Artifacts:  I did notice some light aliasing.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  The sound here is pretty decent.  Also provided is the original broadcast 2.0 track which is pretty sufficient.  The 5.1 track enhances it a bit and does prove itself worthy and not a waste of effort as some can be.  There’s a good balance of music, effect and voice that weaves itself to decency.

Low Frequency Extension:  During the finale, you get some good impacts of the damage Carrie causes.  There are also some score hits that work really well, too.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Mostly ambiance in the rear speakers, but the prom provides some voices and far away action sounds.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clear and clean.  Its loud and center-focused.

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The Rage: Carrie 2 

In this horrifying 1999 sequel to Brian DePalma’s 1976 classic, Rachel is a high school misfit who gets caught in the middle of a vicious prank orchestrated by a group of jocks that turns deadly. Once the police bring one of the boys in for questioning, his teammates target Rachel for squealing, and hatch a devious scheme to publicly humiliate her. But messing with Rachel is worse than playing with fire, for when her temper’s crossed, it triggers a powder-keg of anger and unleashes horrifying powers that turn a wild teen house party into a wilder mad-house inferno!  This fast-paced, white-knuckle revenge fantasy takes telekinesis to the next level of terror!

Back when this film was going into production, I don’t believe there was an outcry about it.  People were more intrigued, but kind of sure it would fall on its face.  Its a film that came about as part of the post-Scream generation of horror.  The only returning person from the original was Amy Irving, so we get the typical “this is all happening again” paranoia plot.  Katt Shea, who had previously directed Poison Ivy and the Stripped To Kill movies was hired to direct.  She also starred in Psycho III.  So, she had some experience in the genre.  Seen as its own alternate take or knock off of the King book, its a pretty decent time waster.

Overall, the movie is a strong decent, and it played way better than it did for me back when it came out in 1999.  There are some wickedly awesome moments.  Mena Suvari’s death plunge off the school roof onto a car is outstanding.  It’ll make you jump and looks pretty damn disturbing and real.  I think the film also might be a bit mean spirited, but it has the right idea with where to go on this version of a humiliation prank.  The look for Rachel on this one was very calm and simple, but very cool looking.

Ultimately, the movie can’t just have Amy Irving to tie it to the first movie, it has to copy beats, moments and show flashbacks to a much superior film.  It doesn’t stop there, as it also has to pull some fan fiction-esque explanation on making the events and Rachel tie into the first film.  Never really seeming necessary, it feels one the nose and forced.  I mean, I’m watching The Rage: Carrie 2, I’m accepting that someone here in the cast is going to possess telekinetic powers.  But, if it makes them feel better.

I did have some fun with this film.  The music, styles, dialogue and such all took me on a nostalgia trip back to high school.  Although, geezum, did they abuse the word “bro” (Ahead of its time?).  The finale actually turns into some cool horror action and mutilation.  The Rage: Carrie 2 is merely an “Ok” return to this territory, but in hindsight, this film has wound up being the second best film in the Carrie canon.  By triumph or by default is up to you to decide, but its the only time we’ve had something “different” or gone in a different direction stylistically instead of more forward copy.  To me, that earns more merit when watching than the same thing trying to reproduce the succeed of an absolute masterpiece another time over.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a real good looking 90s film image.  Its sharp and retains the sort of dinged up look of the era.  Detail is really good here.  I was particularly impressed with the black line drawing itself on Rachel’s body when she transforms in the end.  It looks wickedly cool when it happens.  Other details, like clothing textures and surface blemishes show through really good in both close ups and further out shots.

Depth:  Due to the nature of when this film was made, its not really going to impress anyone.  But, this disc does the best with what it’s given and does a decent job of trying to keep background images look crisp and movements feel free.

Black Levels:  Blacks are natural looking and provide some helpful shading.  It doesn’t do a lot of detail hiding and moreso only helps to define things.

Color Reproduction: Colors keep a more natural, but restrained look.  They appear as they would to the natural eye in person.

Flesh Tones: Natural and consistent.  Details like pores, freckles, wrinkles, stubble and such shine through on close ups.

Noise/Artifacts: A nice little layer of grain and very light amount of specs.  Its a pretty clean print here.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  You wouldn’t think so, but this 5.1 theatrical mix is pretty impressive.  Its active throughout the channels and makes its presence felt in the LFE department.  Sounds are distinct and well rounded.  There is a decent loose feeling and healthy balance of scoring, vocals and sound effects.

Low Frequency Extension:  Subwoofer is pretty active here.  Booming sounds come right through with score hits, sorcery and bodies crashing into windshields.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Front speakers make their presence known.  During the final attack stuff goes flying all around and to varying degrees of volume.  Some cool noises float around in the rear speakers to add to the ambiance and music.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Naturally woven into the mix.  Clarity and placement are accurate and clear.

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This double feature is a 2-Disc set, so each movie gets its own disc.  Typically, the Scream Factory double features have been shared discs.  The reverse side of the cover insert features some additional promotional images.

Disc 1 – Carrie (2002)

Audio Commentary

  • With Director David Carson

Trailer (HD, 2:02)

Disc 2 – The Rage: Carrie 2

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Katt Shea and Director Of Photography Donald Morgan
  • With Director Katt Shea – This the original commentary from the previous release that has been ported over.

Alternate Ending: Before/After Special Effects Sequence (HD, 1:06) – A previsual effects and post visual effects look at the ending.  Also features commentary from director Katt Shea.

Alternate Scenes: Not Seen In Theaters (HD, 7:27) – Has commentary with director Katt Shea.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:16)

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Horror collectors will enjoy having these little alternate looks at Carrie that have mostly been forgotten over the years.  Personally, I found them both to be more interesting and entertaining than the 2013 remake.  And kudos to Scream Factory for not trying to cram them both onto one disc.  Both feature some solid presentations with new commentaries and Carrie 2 looks to have carried over all its DVD bonus features.  While neither even so much as sniffs Brian DePalma’s greatness, they both are interesting companions to that film for people interested in studying horror history.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

1 Response to “Carrie (2002) / The Rage: Carrie 2 – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Cash

    I quite enjoyed Carrie 2: The Rage, the TV Carrie not so much but it makes like nice extra to go with Carrie 2 which is the film I ordered this set for.