A family man learns about an Indian burial ground that has the power
to raise the dead, a power he taps into when tragedy strikes his family.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Written by Jeff Buhler
Starring Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz,
Jeté Laurence, Obssa Ahmed
Remake of 1989's Pet Sematary
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Wow. Talk about a movie that is really dividing its fanbase. Leading up to its release, Pet Sematary was one of the most anticipated horror releases of the year. Cue a badly done trailer that spoiled a big plot element and the actual release, and it’s a whole new ballgame. One half loved the movie and the many deviations it took from the source material, while the other half absolutely hated it. As for where I fall in (because this is my review after all), I leaned towards the former. The changes made actually worked quite well for me. Minus a few issues here and there, I mostly had a great time with the reboot of Pet Sematary.
Just to get this out of the way, since I’ll be essentially defending my position here due to people’s feelings on this movie, I think most of the issues have to do with the marketing lead up to its release. Seeing the change up of which child dies takes away all the impact it should have had in the film. I know since I felt almost nothing when the big moment happens. And not 'cause I’m a heartless monster, but the marketing pounded it into my head before I even sat down. Now, for the changes this film makes. No, the ending doesn’t follow the book at all. But, for me, it was effective. Ellie was creepy and seeing her mercilessly kill people was terrifying. As for Zelda, nothing will top the original film. She was nightmare fuel. While this film still does good with Zelda, it obviously won’t live up to the standard that was set.
2019’s Pet Sematary is proving to be divisive amongst fans. With many fans decrying the deviations made from the source material. And I get it. I really do. But, it didn’t bother me. This version of the story is every bit as terrifying and suspenseful as both the original film and novel. The actors do a good job and the scares deliver. If you’re willing to go along for the ride this film provides, I honestly think you’ll have a good time. Much like I did.
I had been looking forward to this adaptation for quite some time. The trailers were unnerving and creepy, and seemed to have captured the perfect tone for the film. But the finished product is only the bare bones of one of Stephen King's scariest stories. 2019's Pet Sematary takes a lot of liberty's with the source material and changes things around so much that the creepiest elements of the story are removed in favor of something new that doesn't work.
The cast is mostly forgettable, with only John Lithgow standing out, and even he isn't as important to the story as Jud Crandall was in both the story and the 1989 original film. Jason Clarke is okay, but doesn't stand out, and Jeté Laurence is kind of annoying as Ellie Creed, who is now the child resurrected by the unnamed power. This is the biggest deviation from the book that strips the story of some of its most terrifying moments. Ellie talks too much, making the monster much less scary.
Pet Sematary will likely be my biggest disappointment of 2019. The original was mediocre at best, and the bar had not been set very high. However, once again, the filmmakers neglected the source material and tried to do their own thing, and in the process they lost what made the story so scary in the first place. While the music is eerie and the imagery is a bit spooky, the movie is mostly an absolute misfire.