April 10, 2019

Movie Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

When it was announced that a remake of Pet Sematary was in the works, it was met with a mixture of interest and derision. For my tastes, I like the 1989 version, but cannot say I have any particular love for it, so I clearly fell on the interested side. On the other side of the coin, I know someone who loves the original, and while interested, was certainly approaching it with a good deal more skepticism than I. Now that it is here, it is open season for everyone to compare the two, as well as its value as another Stephen King adaptation. I cannot comment on the last bit as I have not read the book, which is amazing considering how much I love King and how much of his older output I’ve read.

This new version was directed by the duo of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, who previously gave us the excellent Starry Eyes, which, if you have not seen it, you most definitely should. The screenwriting duties were handled by Matt Greenberg (Seventh Son, 1408, Reign of Fire) and Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy, Midnight Meat Train), based, of course, on the novel by Stephen King. The result is a movie that is not perfect, but does offer up some definite scares and chills, while also bringing something to the table to differentiate itself from its predecessor.

As I sit here trying to think of what to say about the film, I realized that it probably doesn’t matter what I say. There are those that will like whatever it is and those who are just anti-remake from the start and will dismiss it out of hand. For my mindset, I am more than willing to let remakes be made and simply exist, they do not ruin the originals, they do not replace the original, and sometimes they are good. I am willing to let the movie prove itself to be good or terrible. With Pet Sematary, I am actually very pleased to say that I really liked it, moreso than the original.

The story covers the same ground, family moves to the country and learn of the local pet cemetery from the kindly older neighbor, Judd (John Lithgow, it took me the whole movie to realize that was him, i kept trying to figure out if it was). Then tragedy strikes, the family cat, Church, is struck and killed by a truck. Now, our family patriach, Louis (Jason Clarke), is told of a place that brings the dead back, just beyond the pet cemetery. So, of course, Church gets buried in the cursed ground and soon enough we have an ill tempered, bloody zombie cat.

If you have seen the original, or read the novel, you have an idea of what transpires in the latter half of the film. Granted, it is a little different, as you can tell if you saw the trailer. This film delivers one of the creepiest little girls I have seen on the big screen in some time. She aids in building this version to a dark and nihilistic finish that I really quite enjoyed and can honestly say that I did not see coming.

Is this Pet Sematary all that I had hoped it would be? Of course not, but I found it a distinct step up from the original. It sports a solid performance from John Lithgow. I liked the chemistry between Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz, particularly when they are dealing with tragedy and it seems to draw them closer, at least on Amy’s side, whereas Jason does a good job of slowly losing his grip. The movie as a whole works, although there is a distinct sag in the middle, but that is more than made for by the solid conclusion.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment