Every year we see a new Stephen King adaptation. This year, “Pet Sematary”was remade nearly 30 years after the first film and 36 years after King’s original novel was released. Some King adaptations are complete misses, while others become known as some of the best films ever made, much like “The Shining” and “Misery”. “Pet Sematary”, however seems to land somewhere in between.
Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) move from their Boston home to Maine with their two children; their daughter Ellie and their son Gage. They soon discover, thanks to their friendly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow), that there’s a dark and brooding burial ground for pets in the woods behind the house, often accompanied by mysterious children wearing mask who perform some sort of ritual. When the family cat dies, they bury him, which leads to some creepy zombie mayhem that befalls the cursed family’s lives.
The original 1989 movie was campy and had a low production value, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. The new “Pet Sematary” is quite entertaining at certain points, but at others it drags through its predictability. From the beginning of the film, you can see where it’s going, whether or not you’ve seen the original or read the book. It doesn’t necessarily take away from the creepiness of the movie, but it makes it difficult to care about the outcome.
While the original wasn’t very scary, the remake ups the ante on the creep factor. It’s visually dark from start to finish, making the atmosphere incredibly eerie. Just like most horror movies these days, there’s plenty of jump scares to go around as well. These are used cheaply and can be cliché at moments, but they’re effective enough to make the film as scary as it should be.
The plot line surrounding Rachel is by far the creepiest part of the film. Since she was a child, she had been cursed by the fact that she accidentally killed her bed-ridden sister with a dumbwaiter. She’s constantly haunted by the sound of the dumbwaiter coming down and she often has shocking hallucinations.
It’s easy to tell that “Pet Sematary” is a great story, on top of the fact that it was written by one of the best working authors of spooky fiction. The film however, isn’t as great as the story itself, which is likely due to the direction and performances. However, if you’re in the mood for a fun, creepy movie, “Pet Sematary” should do just fine.
Rated R for horror violence, bloody images, and some language