Pet Sematary review by Bobby Blakey
There have been a ton of Stephen King’s iconic novels adapted into feature films. In 1989 his novel Pet Sematary got the big screen treatment and has since become a fan favorite. Now the novel is getting a new big screen adaptation once again starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo & Lucas Lavoie and John Lithgow with directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer at the helm. Could this latest take offer up more terror than the original or should it stay buried forever?
Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed, who, after relocating with his wife Rachel and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. As a fan of the original film I am always hesitant with these remakes, but also intrigued to see in what direction they can take and possibly improve the story. Here they did a good job at capturing everything that was great about the original and add a bit more to it while still leaving a few things out.
If you didn’t enjoy the original then you will likely not enjoy this one either since it’s essentially the same movie. I know some seemed upset with the switch on the kids, but for the direction they go here it actually works and makes more sense. I was impressed that they still kept the original sequence intact and instead just added a new twist to it. The cast all do a good job, but with Fred Gwynne so great in the original my biggest focus was on the always great John Lithgow. I can happily say I actually love both of them in this role although Gwynne’s over the top country delivery did add more to the famed line, but Lithgow’s more subtle variation works great as well.
The cat Church stole the show with some great visual moments and evil personality that shines through making you really worried about what he is creeping around doing. If I had any issues here it was with some of the pacing. It is slow at times and feels like they draw somethings out a bit longer than need be, but this can be said for the original as well. I was hoping for a more scary approach, but instead it is more creepy thriller like which still works, but I can’t lie and say I wasn’t hoping they would push the boundaries a lot more. They did leave some of the back story stuff out but none of it really affects the overall story or tone.
In the end does it improve on the original? Not really, but it does do it justice. I loved Church and the ending here a lot more than the original, but Gwynne still holds up as my favorite in the role. I did enjoy this new version overall and think it does a great job at serving as almost an alternate reality of the original tale that has a place for both for fans.
In addition to the film this release features bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, an alternate ending and numerous featurettes taking you behind bringing this new take on the classic to life. Return to the Indian burial ground and grab your copy of Pet Sematary available now on digital and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on July 9th from Paramount Home Entertainment.