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Poster Lab: Carrie

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Poster Lab: <em>Carrie</em>

The new Carrie won’t be set loose until March of 2013, but MGM and Screen Gems have already boxed and shipped the film’s promotional package, just in time for trick-or-treat season. By now, most have likely seen the movie’s teaser trailer, which suggests a lot more epic destruction than what was found in Brian De Palma’s original. Also newly unveiled is the remake’s first poster, a cool little blood-soaked gem that comes with its own foreboding promise.

It’s a great new design to hang at a film buff’s Halloween party, and it ably evokes the famed image that heralded Carrie 1.0. The blessing and curse of the poster—and, by extension, the film itself—is Chloë Grace Moretz’s ever-blooming beauty. It shines its way through all that caked-on plasma, and it makes the one-sheet a bit of haunting symmetry that’s stylish beyond its ultra-iconic subject. Still, Moretz hardly has the gangly awkwardness of a 27-year-old Sissy Spacek, and she’s not exactly plausible as a meek outcast. More than anything, this image gives a major boost to the growing Moretz brand, which sells the (still just!) 15-year-old starlet as a princess who flips the bird at sugar and spice.

Ever since she broke out in 2010’s Kick-Ass, Moretz has been the industry’s go-to transgressive prodigy, an up-and-comer who’s equally game for expletives and bloodletting. Thus, her casting as Carrie White is at once natural and uninspired, and a pic of her coated in crimson is more than a little familiar. It was only two years ago that Moretz played Abby in Let Me In, which brought out her vampiric side and released a closely related one-sheet. From blood-seeping orifices to that confident Trajan font, the Carrie poster could just as soon advertise Let Me In, provided Abby were a name bound for immortality too. The approach of the same stacked text atop a glaring face recalls last year’s ad for Thor, which similarly spaced out its tagline For. Maximum. Effect. (A fun trick would be merging these two posters, and labeling Carrie “The God of Thunder.”)

The Carrie tagline follows The Hunger Games’s self-reflexive “The World Will Be Watching” as a cocksure studio plug for a movie’s box-office mojo. Of course, it also refers to the in-text legend of our pig’s-blood prom queen, but its forceful prescience has that unmistakable air of phenomenon hopes, beckoning viewers to get in on the thrill, and to help make this remake a Tweetable sensation. Is it also a promise for indelible scares? Moretz will be joined by Julianne Moore, who’s liable to be a scream in the role originated by Piper Laurie, but filmmaker Kimberly Pierce is coming off of a sophomore slump (Boys Don’t Cry was raw and gritty; Stop-Loss failed to launch). Can she conjure up a fresh rush of terror tinged with feminism? Can she quell the red flags of Moretz’s casting, which seems both obvious and ill-fitting? Let’s hope so, because this poster gets a viewer in the spirit, with fingers crossed that the film won’t pull a prom-stage fiasco and go splat.