[Review] Pet Sematary (2019)
Pet Sematary – Based on the terrifying novel by highly-acclaimed author Stephen King (It)… After Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children, they soon discover a mysterious, ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, the grief-stricken father is driven by the cemetery’s sinister power, setting off a perilous chain of events that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. Some secrets are best left buried, and even more, sometimes dead is better in this twisted thrill ride.
I know right now there’s going to be many negative reviews on this film, and although that makes me sad, I completely understand. I’m nearly positive that their main reasoning for this will be from the terrible marketing the film had behind it. Admittingly I saw the first trailer covering this movie and I should have stopped right then and there instead of watching any of the others that followed. The next trailer that came out a couple of weeks later, however, disclosed nearly every single plotline in the film which almost ruined everything but the ending.
What’s worse is that they revealed the one and only twist they had changed from the book and of the original movie. This second trailer had to be one of the worst calls for a movie trailer that I’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, and wait for this…there was another trailer about a week or so before the movie hit the screens containing even more spoilers! I mean, seriously? Why the hell do we need to pay money to see this now? So yeah, I’m not expecting to hear a lot of good things about this one, or at least the way they handled this shit-move marketing.
Anyway, out of all fairness, the film itself, rather than anything else, I did like. It wasn’t bad at all. I mean, I don’t really care to see remake after remake of these classics with nothing changing or being added differently. That would get old and boring really quick. Still, the changes they made were ultimately already disclosed to us by the crap marketing of the trailers so when those parts DID come up, I wasn’t nearly as surprised or appreciative of them as I could have been. As I SHOULD have been. Can you tell I’m a little pissed at their marketing strategy here? Fine, I’ll get off that soapbox now.
For sure one of my favorite parts in the book, and in the 1989 film version, was the connection that developed between Jud and Louis. We learned more about the burial ground itself and what happened there, and of anyone or anything that had been buried in it. We learned about the history and the HOW, and we got to hear a whole lot more about Jud and his life growing up. It was great, you got to ‘know’ and care about him because of his character development.
But in this film, he’s just some old farmer-looking dude that’s kind of a busy-body and shown every now and then. Not much else is given about him. Well, except his small tale about the spirit of the Wendigo that was causing all the madness and chaos. Maybe I just missed seeing Fred Gwynne (RIP) playing the part of Jud instead of John Lithgow. Lithgow is ok, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Gwynne, no one ever will. Fred was just born for that part, and hands down gave an untouchable performance as Jud.
As far as any of the characters involved, there really wasn’t much depth to any of them, and that made it difficult to relate to, or even like them. I love anything Jason Clarke plays in, and I think he’s very underappreciated of his talents, but in this film, he was really bland and gave no true emotion in his part as the father, Louis Creed. For the first time, he seemed fake to me. I’m sure that was because of what they gave him to work with, meaning I think they held him back from giving us his full potential. Amy Seimetz who played the mother, Rachael also seemed somewhat bland and emotionless.
You can see this fully with the death of their daughter (no this isn’t a spoiler, it was actually told to us in the friggin’ trailer!), nearly a tear was shed at her funeral between them, and immediately right after she was put in the ground, she was being dug right back up from her grave to be re-buried in the pet cemetery. Maybe I just like seeing people cry? I don’t know, but I do know this much, we should have been seeing way more emotion than what they gave us. It was their daughter for Pete’s sake!
I feel that a lot of the scenes like this were just way too rushed. They needed to make this movie about 30 minutes longer to give us better character development so that we could actually care about and connect with them, and to make them seem like THEY cared. The little guy that played Gage, although he was cute as hell, it’s not very likely to be remembered by me at all, and if he plays in any future films I’m positive I wouldn’t even know him. Again, no fleshing out of any of their roles.
The only one that I feel did a top-notch job was the daughter Ellie, played by Jeté Laurence. She filled her part really well, far better and different from the annoying and whiny kid from the 1989 film. Jeté was believable and truly creeped me out. Good job, girl! But the one that did the absolute best was CHURCH! That cat is the most awesome, I can’t believe some of the scenes they were able to use him in, quite the little fuzzy actor I must say!
I’m not going to go into a lot of spoilers, I think we got enough of those when we watched any of the trailers that came along for this movie. I want you to see it for yourself. It’s not a bad film, as I already said. I did enjoy it for the most part, and there’s a good bit of menace and tension that builds up through to the end, which is always good.
There are some blood and gore, but nothing too serious, and there are a few jump-scares but those were nicely placed throughout and not overly done at all. The landscaping of the pet cemetery looked amazing. I simply love the misty/fog look that was tinted with blue, it had a very dark and disturbing atmosphere. That alone made the movie for me, just the feeling it gave off, that entire set was perfectly done.
I can recommend seeing this one. Maybe not for the theater price (30 bucks per person for a night out?) but perhaps on Amazon Prime or through a paid subscription. Just don’t go into this one with different expectations about where the true horror of the story comes from, or what the subject matter is about, it’s all about life, love, family, and death, those are the themes, so just enjoy it for what it is and try not to pick it apart to much. Oh, I also have to ask myself if the ending played out as it did for any other reason than a sequel?
Title: Pet Sematary (2019)
Release Date: April 5, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Naomi Frenette
MPAA Rated: R
Director(s): Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 3.4 /5
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