Title – Pet Sematary (2019)
Directors – Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes)
Cast – Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence
Plot – Maine resident Dr. Louis Creed (Clarke) and his family quickly discover that their new house close to the woods is surrounded by some dark and powerful magic centred around a local pet cemetery.
“Sometimes, dead is better”
Review by Eddie on 16/07/2019
As a first port of call it’s only fair that I share a cinema sin of mine.
I have never actually seen the much talked about 1989 original Pet Sematary that so many have watched as part of the cinematic education, so watching Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer new take on the classic Stephen King tale of evil cats, sinister children and ancient dark magic was done on my behalf with fresh and unknowing eyes.
Without being able to make comparisons directly to the original King novel or the late 80’s film offering, I can safely say this modern day take on the story of Jason Clarke’s kindly Maine Dr. Louis Creed experiencing some extremely odd happenings when his family move into their new rural home is a tame, energy free and curiously scare free affair that feels like it will fail to inspire much enthusiasm from fans of King’s work or those seeking a solid horror fix.
The groundwork is quite clearly laid down before Kölsch and Widmyer to delve into but this charisma free offering that does nothing outside of the horror trope 101 rule-book fails to captivate us in its creepy exploration of loss and death that could’ve and should’ve been a skin crawling experience that burrows deep into the subconscious.
It’s a kooky tale, right up there with some of the most bonkers of King’s career but this version of Pet Sematary feels flat from the get-go and as we are just asked to accept the casual going’s about of raised from the dead cats and local children providing ritualistic burials of dead pets, it’s hard to get on board with much of what takes place and as the plot line becomes more and more over the top and really rather silly as this wannabe creep fest loses steam well before its final curtain call.
Also working against the films generic conception is the fact we never build much of a strong relationship with Creed and his family, that includes rather forgettable performances from its four leads that includes John Lithgow as nice old neighbor Jud, Amy Seimetz as Creeds wife Rachel and Jeté Laurence as their eldest child Ellie and as Pet Sematary relies heavily on us caring for this family and what occurs to them, much of the tension is pulled out from under the film before any of the real nefarious happenings start taking place.
In the rushed feeling film its likely you’ll walk away from proceedings feeling as though the multitude of feline’s that were used to play key film player Church were the films real MVP’s, a nice bonus for the film but an indictment on an otherwise completely forgettable experience that offers nothing of note for viewers to remember or truly enjoy.
Final Say –
A by the numbers affair that neither scares, intrigues or captivates, Pet Sematary is another unfortunate member of the rubbish Stephen King adaptations that are littered throughout cinema history and another 2019 horror letdown.
1 ½ roadside birthday party out of 5
Personally, I liked the movie. Granted I never read King’s book nor seeing the original movie prior to seeing this new one.
I found it instantly forgettable mate and honestly not at all scary, which really disappointed me.
Actually I think the first one is pretty damn lame as well. I read the book when it first came out (I was in college at the time,),and it was the second Stephen King book I had read, but I had seen and been disappointed in ALL the movie adaptations up to that point, and Yes that includes “The Shining” which I think is one of the most overrated horror movies ever! On the positive side, I was really curious about King’s Writing BECAUSE I disliked all the movie adaptations so much, and this made me start with “The Stand” which led to “Pet Sematary” and “Different Seasons” and the several other novels he wrote. Here’s the problem as I see it: much of King’s novels involve lengthy sections of stream of consciousness that gives readers the chills. For example, there are some short chapters in “Pet Sematary” which take place during Louis Creed’s walk up to the burial ground to bury the cat—-the entire time we as readers are simply hearing what Louis Creed is thinking about in his mind as he makes this dark trek into sinister territory—-and guess what—-NONE of that can be filmed! It’s impossible! This, I think, is why most of King’s tales are better read than watched as movies
Yeh great points mate. I am actually a huge fan of the Dark Tower series, I really hope a TV show can do it justice.
i was going to watch this until i accidentally saw the trailer for it (played before a movie at the cinema) and oh my goodness, the damn stupid trailer spoiled everything. what’s the deal with dumb trailers nowdays? anyways, it cost them a customer.
Agreed. As someone who hadn’t seen the movie or read the books, the trailer for this new took away any intrigue that could’ve existed for me.
Well, another one to avoid then. Not a real surprise honestly, as I already didn’t think much of the trailer 😊
Oh mate the trailer was a shocker, showed far to much.
Thank you for the insightful review! I share your cinema sin, as I’ve never watched the original movie either! Actually, that is the reason why I decided not to see this one, as I wanted to see the old one first! And probably, from what you and others wrote, I shouldn’t bother with this remake…
I have heard mixed things about the old one but I was surprised this one had semi decent reviews. I found it utterly forgettable.
Think they actually paid for a lot of those. If you look through the IMDb reviews there are a ridiculous amount of 10/10 fake reviews that all pretty much say the same thing. I know there’s always a certain amount of reviews like this, but there are a LOT this time and unless this is the first horror movie you’ve ever seen in your life no one actually thinks this movie is a 10.
That is a great thought mate! I don’t know anyone in my circle of contacts that thought it was any good. I am surprised a few decent critics said it was good though, not sure what they saw in it.
I have to wholeheartedly agree with this review. It’s been ages since I saw the original, but, even if you haven’t seen the original, youwould still expect a decent horror film, surely? Just by the numbers, no scares, terrible script. I absolutely thought the directors debut, Starry Eyes was a very good film but it seems going with a major studio, having to follow a popular novel, didn’t gel with them. Be interesting to see what they do next as they definitely have skill.
Yeh mate I sense some skill from these directors and was actually pretty hyped to see what they would do with some cool material but wow this was just so lame. There honestly wasn’t really one good sequence in the whole film and not a scare in sight.
Really didn’t like this one either, which is a shame because it had a great trailer. The movie’s biggest sin is that it is just flat out boring
Oh yeh so right this was actually painful to sit through. I was just waiting for something of note to happen or for someone to show shines of life!
I definitely agree. I have read the book and seen the 1989 original film and this movie wasn’t scary or interesting. Both this and the 1989 movie fail at effectively adapting the source material. It’s a great story and I’d advise reading the book.
I feel like King’s work in the majority seems better suited to the page, although I am looking forward to IT: Chapter 2!
They did a great job adapting It for the big screen.
I’ve seen the version from the 80s around the time it came to VHS, but I don’t remember much of it. Except that it had Lt. Tasha Yar from TNG in it. I’ve read the book soon after and I preferred it to the movie. I loved the book The Dark Half, but the film version didn’t capture the same intensity. King’s movie and TV adaptations are a hit and miss. The more dramatic the story is, the more likely it will get good movie treatment (Shawshank Redemption, Misery, Green Mile, Stand By Me). I liked the original mini-series IT, but the ending was lame. I haven’t seen the new version yet.
Horror stories rarely work because there’s so much in the character’s head that gets omitted in the adaptation. They could add a narration (film noir style), but I guess that’s not in fashion any more.
So this new Pet Sematary didn’t work for me as well, but it wasn’t a total loss. I found the changes interesting and John Lithgow was great and the girl was creepy. I didn’t much care for the rest. But being a father of two young kids adds a different twist and emotional weight behind any movie dealing with families with young kids. That is something I’m still getting used to when I watch an older movie from my youth and suddenly I get hit with another dimension that I was not able to see at the time of first viewing. At the end of the day, I’d recommend skipping this one in case someone is on the fence.
Some great points in here Uri! I found this one really disappointing as I felt like had the stars aligned it could’ve been really special.