Editor’s Desk: This review originally ran on May 25, 2018, as part of our “Stephen King Week” of reviews and we’ve brought it back for John Doe Week.
Originally titled The Curse, this film, based on the real-life Spur Posse case (read up at Wikipedia; you’ve seen the case as plot fodder for Law & Order), sat in development hell for two years. One can only wish that it had remained there. How did we as a people allow this movie to happen? If only social media had been around to shame this film into nothingness back then!
The original story was so close to Carrie that the producers decided to go for it and the film finally went into production in 1998 under the title Carrie 2: Say You’re Sorry. However, just a few weeks into production, director Robert Mandel (School Ties, F/X) quit over creative difference and Katt Shea (Stripped to Kill, Poison Ivy, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase) stepped in with less than a week to prepare and two weeks’ worth of unusable footage.
Did you like Hackers? Well, if you did, good news. The writer of that movie, Rafael Moreu, also wrote this. Chances are, however, that you disliked that movie. Most people do.
Man, where to start? Well, how about in the past, where Barbara Lang paints a red paint barrier throughout her house to protect her daughter Rachel from Satan? There’s a nice transition here where we go from the young girl holding her puppy to the teen version holding an older version of Walter the dog.
Rachel hates her foster parents (the dad is John Doe from X! and A Matter of Degrees) and only has one friend, Lisa (a pre-American Pie and American Beauty, if only by a few months, Mena Suvari). On the bus, Lisa shares that she just gave up her virginity to Eric (Zachery Ty Bryan of TV’s Home Improvement), a football player.
The truth? It’s all an elaborate game where players get points for sleeping with different girls. Eric rejects her and Lisa dives off the roof of the school, igniting Rachel’s telekinetic powers.
That’s when we meet Sue Snell (Amy Irving, who asked Brian De Palma for his blessing), the only person who came back from the original. She’s now a school counselor and she and Sheriff Kelton are trying to figure out why so many girls have come to her in tears. Never mind that one of them just did a perfect dive off the garden club’s roof.
Meanwhile, Walter the dog gets hit by a car and Jesse, the nice football player takes her to the animal hospital. Becca assures me that Jason London and his twin brother, Jesse, were once a big deal. All I know is that he was in Dazed and Confused.
The football players learn that Rachel figured out the game and alerted the police, so they try and intimidate her. Her powers nearly kill them before her foster parents arrive.
Sue Snell drops the bomb on Rachel soon after. Her father, Ralph White, also was the father of Carrie White, who burned down the school that Sue attended and killed 70 people thanks to her powers. Rachel refuses to believe that they are half-sisters, even after a visit to the burned down school. This is probably where the planned Sissy Spacek cameo would have gone, but she did not want to be in the film. She did allow her old footage to be used, however. There was even a version shot of this scene where Rachel kicked the metal bucket that dropped onto Carrie’s head, but thankfully smarter heads won out.
So Jesse falls in love with Rachel, despite popular girl Tracy being all butthurt about it. Oh yeah — I forgot that American Pie alumnus Eddie Kaye Thomas shows up, too.
The players get out of jail free thanks to the status of their parents. But they want revenge, so they decide to humiliate Rachel. They secretly tape Rachel and Jesse making love and play it at a big party that they’ve invited Rachel to. The players also reveal their sex game and make her believe that Jesse never really loved her.
As they all scream and yell at her (one of them even yells, “They’re all going to laugh at you,” which one imagines they would only know from an Adam Sandler routine), she finally unleashes her power and kills nearly everyone. This is the one great scene in the film, as her shitty tattoo (which looks like the fakest tattoo in the history of the fake tattoo game) becomes vines that descend down her arm.
Sue has somehow stolen Barbara from the mental institution to try and save Rachel, but it causes her death (shades of Miss Collins in the original). Even spear guns and a flare gun can’t stop her. Finally, her mother tells her that she is possessed by Satan and wants nothing to do with her and Rachel begs to die.
Tracy comes into the house and Rachel kills her with absolutely no mercy. As the videotape of Jesse and Rachel plays, she makes him explain. He screams that he loves her but she doesn’t believe it until she hears the same tone on the video. The ceiling collapses on her and he stays by her side to kiss, but she pushes him away as she dies.
A year later, while in his college dorm with her dog (he must have one of those great football player deals that allow you to have a pet on campus and yes, I get the silliness of me being bothered by this when I’ve just watched an entire movie about psychic powers), Rachel appears to him in a dream before she shatters. And yes, that’s the dumbest ending I’ve seen in some time.
This movie is a complete piece of 1990’s shit. It’s all shot with that crushed black/blue filter, everything on the soundtrack sounds like Fear Factory and it makes you realize a time and place where horrible sequels like this and An American Werewolf in Paris were considered good ideas. This would have been better if it were a movie that stood on its own so that I could have ended this article with something like, well, it’s no Carrie. Instead, it shoves that fact into your face from the very first frame.
If you’d like to suffer through this for yourself, Amazon Prime and Hulu have you covered. Man. I hope Stephen King got more than his traditional $1 advance for this.