The film is a re-imagining of the horror novel about Carrie White (Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Moore), who uses her telekinetic powers with devastating effect after being a victim of a cruel prank at her senior prom. The film grossed $85 million worldwide at the box office.
Alone in her home, Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a disturbed religious fanatic, gives birth to a baby girl, intending to kill the infant but changes her mind. Years later, her daughter Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy, unassertive girl, nears her graduation from Ewen High School in Maine.
While showering after gym class at school, Carrie experiences her first menstrual period. She naively thinks she is bleeding to death. The other girls ridicule her, and longtime bully Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) records the event on her smartphone and uploads it to YouTube. Gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and sends her home with Margaret, who believes menstruation is a sin. Margaret demands that Carrie abstain from showering with the others. When Carrie refuses, Margaret hits her with a Bible and locks her in her "prayer closet". As Carrie screams to be let out, a crack appears on the door, and the crucifix in the closet begins to bleed.
Miss Desjardin informs the girls who teased Carrie that they will endure boot camp-style detention for their behavior. When Chris refuses, she is suspended from school and banned from the prom. She storms out, vowing revenge.
Carrie learns that she has telekinesis, the ability to move things with her mind. She researches her abilities, learning to harness them. Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) regrets teasing Carrie in the shower room and attempts to make amends by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie accepts Tommy's invitation, and after school, goes into the town and buys red velvet fabric, and makes a dress at home. When she tells her mother, Margaret forbids Carrie to attend. Asking her mother to relent, Carrie manifests her telekinesis. Margaret believes this power comes from the Devil and is proof that Carrie has been corrupted by sin.
Chris, her boyfriend Billy Nolan (Alex Russell), and his friends plan revenge on Carrie. They kill a pig and drain its blood into a bucket. Margaret tries to prevent Carrie from going to the prom, but Carrie telekinetically locks her mother in the closet. At the prom, Carrie is nervous and shy, but Tommy kindly puts her at ease. As part of Chris and Billy's plan, Chris' friend, Tina Blake (Zoë Belkin), slips fake ballots into the voting box, which name Carrie and Tommy prom queen and king.
At home, Sue receives a text from Chris taunting her about her revenge on Carrie. Sue drives to the prom, arriving just as Carrie and Tommy are about to be crowned. Sue sees the bucket of pig's blood dangling above Carrie, but before she can warn anyone Miss Desjardin hustles her out, suspecting that Sue is planning to humiliate Carrie.
Chris dumps the bucket of pig's blood onto Carrie and Tommy. Chris's shower video appears on large screens above the stage, inciting laughter from some in the audience, until the bucket falls onto Tommy's head, killing him. Enraged, Carrie takes her revenge telekinetically, killing several of the students and staff including Tina, Heather (Samantha Weinstein), Nicki and Lizzy (Karissa and Katie Strain), but spares Desjardin. A fire breaks out and, as the school burns to the ground, Carrie walks away, leaving a trail of fire and destruction in her wake. Chris and Billy attempt to flee in Billy's car. Chris urges Billy to run Carrie over, but Carrie flips the car into a gas station, setting it on fire, and killing them.
Carrie arrives home and she and Margaret embrace. Margaret tells Carrie about the night of Carrie's conception. After having shared a bed platonically with her husband, they yielded to temptation one night and, after praying for strength, Carrie's father "took" Margaret, who enjoyed the experience. Margaret attacks Carrie, who attempts to flee and ends up killing her with several sharp tools. She becomes hysterical and makes stones rain from the sky to crush the house. When Sue arrives, a furious Carrie grabs her with her powers, but senses something inside Sue, and tells her that her baby is a girl. Carrie pushes a stunned Sue out of the house to safety as the house collapses and apparently kills Carrie.
As a voice-over gives her testimony in court regarding the prom incident, Sue visits Carrie's vandalised grave and places a single white rose by the headstone. As she leaves, the gravestone's surface begins to break.
In May 2011, representatives from MGM and Screen Gems announced that the two companies were producing a film remake of Carrie. The two studios hired Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to write a screenplay that delivers "a more faithful adaption" of King's novel—Aguirre-Sacasa previously adapted King’s work The Stand into a comic book in 2008. Reshoots were ordered, as the screenplay was re-written by Lawrence D. Cohen, who also wrote the original film.
Upon hearing of the new adaptation, King remarked, "The real question is why, when the original was so good?" He also suggested Lindsay Lohan for the main role and stated that "it [the film] would certainly be fun to cast". Actress Sissy Spacek, who played Carrie in de Palma's adaptation, expressed an opinion on the choice of Lohan for the character of Carrie White, stating that she "was like, 'Oh my God, she's really a beautiful girl' and so I was very flattered that they were casting someone to look like me instead of the real Carrie described in the book. It's gonna be real interesting." In March 2012, the role of Carrie White was offered to Chloë Grace Moretz, who accepted the role.
Kimberly Peirce directed the film, while Moore starred as Margaret White and Gabriella Wilde played Sue Snell. Alex Russell and Ansel Elgort are also members of the main cast, and Judy Greer played the gym teacher Miss Desjardin.
The original release date was March 15, 2013, but in early January 2013 the release date was moved to October 18, 2013.
Sony held a "First Look" event at the New York Comic Con on October 13, 2013 that allowed attendees to view the film prior to the release date. The event was followed by a panel session with several members of the cast and crew.
Trailers for the film included a phone number that offered promotions to the caller, as well as a recording of a simulated encounter with characters from the film.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 14, 2014. The Blu-ray features an alternate opening and ending and nine deleted scenes.
In the alternate opening, a young Carrie has a discussion with her teenage neighbor, who is sun-bathing, over the fact that Margaret believes that women with breasts are sinful. Margaret catches them in the conversation and believes that the neighbor is offending Carrie, not before the neighbor's mother disagrees with her. Suddenly, stones begin to rain only on the White household. Margaret, believing it is a sign from God, takes shelter inside her home with a distressed Carrie.
In the alternate ending, the cracking gravestone and the court speech are not present. Sue is in the hospital and is preparing to give birth to her baby. As she struggles to give birth, Carrie's bloody hand suddenly emerges and grabs Sue's arm. Sue screams loudly as she wakes up in her own bedroom, with her mother comforting her and telling her that her nightmare is over. A subliminal frame image of Carrie soaked in pig's blood is seen carrying Sue's baby as Sue continues to scream in her room.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 48% approval rating with an average rating of 5.4/10 based on 161 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "It boasts a talented cast, but Kimberly Peirce's "reimagining" of Brian De Palma's horror classic finds little new in the Stephen King novel—and feels woefully unnecessary." On Metacritic, it scored a 53 out of 100 based on 34 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Kevin C. Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film a favorable review, saying, "Long before the blood starts spilling, it's clear the new team has mostly nailed it. The reboot is as good a Carrie remake as possible, though it's not truly a scary movie; the film takes its time living up to its R rating." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle also gave the film a favorable review, remarking: "In a way, the new Carrie is almost too easy to enjoy. Everything discordant and all the nagging weirdness and strange feelings surrounding the original have been smoothed down, and what we're left with is a well-made, highly satisfying and not particularly deep high school revenge movie." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a positive review, stating: "The acting's strong; in addition to Moretz and Moore, Judy Greer is a welcome presence in the Betty Buckley role of the sympathetic gym instructor. But something's missing from this well-made venture. What's there is more than respectable, while staying this side of surprising." Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave it three out of five stars, saying, "With the exception of some appearances by social media, 'Carrie' doesn't try to hip up King's basic, often slow story. And while De Palma's version is fondly recalled as a high-blood-mark of the 1970s, this new take seems to linger a bit more on the bugaboos of overparenting and bullying while underplaying Mama's fanaticism. Peirce only glancingly lets her heroine have a mild discovery-of-powers moment that feels 'X-Men'-ish." In a positive review on Roger Ebert's website, Matt Zoller Seitz awarded the film three out of four stars, praising the portrayal of Carrie and Margaret's relationship and the feelings of sympathy Carrie manages to evoke, although he criticizes the representation of Chris as "exaggeratedly evil". Seitz ultimately concludes by stating: "The first Carrie was horror. This is tragedy." A. A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a C- rating, criticizing Moretz's Carrie as "too adjusted, coming across less like the 'very peculiar girl' King described in his novel and more like the stealth babe of some nottie-to-hottie teen romance." Dowd lamented on the film as a whole, "It's a strange thing to say about a movie so obsessed with the red stuff, but this Carrie is bloodless."
Sony estimated the revenue for the opening weekend of Carrie as between $16 million and $18 million, while others estimated a bigger margin of $24 million to $28 million due to the Halloween season. However, the final takings totaled $16,101,552 and the film was ranked at number 3 behind Gravity and Captain Philips, both of which were in their second and third weeks, respectively. By the end of the week, the film managed to gross $20,121,355. In week two, the film slipped 62.8% to sixth place with $5,900,000 and 43.2% to ninth place in its third week with $3,400,000.
At the end of its run, the film has grossed $35,266,619 in North America and $49,524,059 in other countries for a worldwide gross of $84,790,678. It is the 67th highest-grossing film of 2013 in the United States.