Twenty-three years after the original comes a sequel, continuing in the same town. Seems Carrie’s father had a child with another woman, who, go figure, is also a religious zealot. Being raised in one uncaring foster home after another does little to improve young Rachel’s (Emily Bergl) morale, and she becomes a surly sixteen-year-old goth. Similar to her half-sister, she’s an unpopular outcast pushed too far. Instead of catty teenage girls, she’s accosted mainly by a gaggle of jocks over a game in which they sleep with girls for points. One of them—Jesse (Jason London)—really has feelings for her, but she doesn’t find that out until it’s too late and she has a meltdown at a party–literally.
It meets all of my qualifications for a good sequel: it follows the plot and logic of the original, and someone from the original is involved—Amy Irving returns as the sympathetic Sue, who, amusingly enough, is the high school guidance counselor. Since the plot is so similar to Carrie, it almost feels like a remake; setting the story in the late-90s goth scene would be a more clever modernization than most remakes manage.
My major complaint is that the villains are forced into one-dimensional types—rich jocks and cheerleaders—and they are completely overdone in their evilness. For example the scene when Rachel’s best friend Lisa (Mena Suvari—I find it amusing that here Lisa is labeled as a “dog,”
but in the same year Suvari played dreamboat Angela in American Beauty) has just leapt off of the school’s roof. A football player strolls over with a video camera, wondering aloud whose car Lisa just totaled. My second, more minor, issue is that none of these actors are or even look like teenagers. (According to IMDB, the only person under 20 is Zachery Ty Brian, who’s actually playing the age he really is, 18.) They’re fair actors though, and I enjoy them. Overall it’s well-written and does what it’s supposed to: score one for the underdog.
I saw the film in the theatre at age 15. Back then I was a pudgy green-haired misanthrope, thrilled to be sitting next to my sister’s friend Matt, yet depressed he had no idea I was alive. (Can you say target audience?) There’s also a scene that surprised me with how much I could identify with it: Rachel is in the back of popular girl Monica’s car; Monica (Rachel Blanchard) tells her friend to take the wheel while she changes her clothes. The same thing once happened to me, down to the clothes-changing; my popular friend Hope tried to include me in activities with her similarly popular friends, and though they were nice (besides the one who barked, “Are you shy? I hate shy people!”), I felt like an outsider. Check it out if you feel like seeing some bullies get a hurtin’, especially if you (like me) still occasionally rock Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar album.