Like a good number of remakes of classic movies, especially in the horror genre, the 2002 NBC-TV remaking of CARRIE is a problematic film. The basic allure of Stephen King's first novel, which touches on religious fanaticism, high school fascism, and telekinesis, is as relevant now as it was in 1976, when Brian DePalma's film was released. Even a good premise, however, can be derailed by mediocre execution, as was the case in the TV remake of THE SHINING or in the 1999 "sequel" THE RAGE: CARRIE 2.
Angela Bettis does a good enough job as the tormented Carrie White. Given that she has some pretty big shoes to fill, namely those of Sissy Spacek who had received an Oscar nod for the role in 1976, I think Bettis does better than most. Patricia Clarkson is fair as the unglued Margaret White, although her low-key insanity still might make one pine for Piper Laurie's extremist performance in the first film.
But for me, what undid this film were not only the many politically correct cosmetic changes to the identities of her torturing classmates (the Sue Snell character is African-American here), but the fact that the bucket of blood scene is poorly done. When it's poured on Bettis, it just looks like what it is--red syrup. In the original, when the blood hits Spacek, it slams into her like a tidal wave (thanks to DePalma's slow motion), creating such an emotional impact that caused that film to transcend the mere boundaries of horror.
The CARRIE remake is thus forever in the shadow of the original, even as Bettis' performance stands on its own. It is an okay film, even for TV; but for a true combination of horror and drama, the 1976 original is still the one to watch.