Film review: Pet Sematary
A family moves to a rural home where their lives are turned upside down by a tragedy and an eerie ‘pet sematary’ located nearby.
Another day, another remake. Pet Sematary follows the common theme in Hollywood of remaking nearly all horror movies, especially those with Stephen King as the source material.
Already the subject of a divisive 1989 film of the same name, the modern retelling follows the Creed family as they seek out a quieter life by moving from Boston to rural Maine.
Things go awry when Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) starts suffering from nightmares and hallucinations about the nearby ‘pet sematary’, rumoured to bring the dead back to life.
When the family cat, Church, dies, Louis and neighbour Jud (John Lithgow) decide to bury the cat to spare Louis’ eight-year-old daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) from heartache.
The rumours prove true and Church returns, but something is off about the reanimated cat. He soon starts to endanger those around him and (spoiler alert) is partly responsible for Ellie’s eventual death.
Overwhelmed by grief and ignoring what happened with Church, Louis buries Ellie in the pet sematary and, low and behold, she comes back different…
The above may sound like spoiler territory, but it’s not, considering the big reveal was blown in the trailers before the film was released.
Its hard to feel engaged or shocked by Pet Sematary when you know what is coming, and with Ellie’s death not happening until 101 minutes into the movie, I found myself watching the clock.
As a result, what should have been one of Pet Sematary’s most dramatic moments lands with a whimper rather than a thud.
From that point, Pet Sematary moves away from the exploration of grief and guilt which made King’s original novel a masterpiece into slasher film territory.
While some may feel genuine dread and horror at the thought of a demonic child, I found the delivery to be humorous and couldn’t help but laugh at a few key moments that were intended to scare.
Unfortunately, the film was released close to Jordan Peele’s Us (read our review) so comparisons will be drawn and Pet Sematary simply isn’t in the same league.
If you’re a fan of the original or Stephen King’s work, then Pet Sematary will satisfy, otherwise you’d be better off saving your money for Us.
Final rating: 2.5/5
Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jete Laurence, Hugo Lavoie.
If you like this, try:
Pet Sematary (1989), Pet Sematary Two, Cujo, It, Children of the Corn, Cat’s Eye, Sleepwalkers.