Geoff Cox’s DVDs: Carrie, Frozen, Homefront, The Family

We were told that the new adaptation of Stephen King’s first published novel would go back to the basics of the book.

Friday, 21st March 2014, 10:00 am

The promise was made by director Kimberly Peirce, but horror remake CARRIE (15: Sony) is a pale imitation and more of a homage to Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror classic.

While the core scary fairy tale remains, the film is less emotionally engaging than the orginal.

Repressed teenager Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is tormented at school by bullies and at home by her fanatically religious mother (Julianne Moore).

She starts to develop psychic powers and when her prom night results in one final humiliation, she snaps and unleashes full telekinetic revenge on everyone who has made her life a misery.

Thrown into the mix are social media thrills (Carrie’s shower humiliation is put on YouTube), silly visual nods to The Exorcist and excessive gore in the bloody massacre finale.

There’s nothing wrong with the performances, but they’re not in the same class as those of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie 38 years ago.

> The full Disney princess treatment is given to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen in dazzling fairy tale adventure FROZEN (PG: Walt Disney).

Animation is given an injection of Broadway talent, with Tony Award-winning Idina Menzel voicing Elsa, the princess whose magical frostiness is so dangerous that she is separated from younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell).

After becoming queen, Elsa reveals her chilling powers in a jealous rage, causing her kingdom to suffer continuous winter, and flees to the mountains.

Anna sets off to find her and reverse the magic, together with a handsome swain, his trusty reindeer and an optimistic snowman.

Vivid action, solid drama and surprising twists in the third act combine with some superb show-tune songs.

> HOMEFRONT (15: Lionsgate) is another by-the-numbers thriller off the Jason Statham production line, although the star displays a tender side rarely seen in his previous action work.

Statham is Phil Broker, a federal agent who quits his job after his wife’s death and moves to the Deep South to start a new life with his ten-year-old daughter.

But the natives are less than friendly and when sleazy local crime lord Gator (James Franco) tries to use Broker’s past as a drug enforcement agent to aid his meth operation, the stage is set for a fight-to-the-end battle.

Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay and it ticks all the boxes for a good-versus-evil clash, but pedestrian direction robs the story of any real momentum.

> Robert De Niro does further damage to his reputation in Goodfellas-style comedy action movie THE FAMILY (15: Momentum).

Chaos ensues when a mafia boss turned supergrass and his kin are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection programme.

Despite the best efforts of Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (De Niro), his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children can’t help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems “the family way”.

You would expect more from a film directed by Luc Besson, while De Niro should know better than to add this turkey to his CV.