Film Review: Pet Sematary

02:48 April 12, 2019
By: David Vicari

This is the second attempt at a movie adaptation of Stephen King's 1983 horror novel, Pet Sematary (Cemetery is misspelled because it was constructed by children). King, himself, wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film version and that movie is a steaming cat turd. Unfortunately, the new remake doesn't fare much better.

A doctor (Jason Clarke) and his wife (Amy Seimetz), along with their two kids and a cat, move into a house that is surrounded by acres of forest. There are also semi trucks that roar past their front yard every few minutes or so. When the cat is killed by a truck, an elderly neighbor (John Lithgow) shows the doctor a pet cemetery deep in the woods. It just so happens that this cemetery is an ancient Indian burial ground, and whatever is buried there comes back as a murderous zombie. Of course, one of the couple's kids is eventually going to go play in the street.

The first half of Pet Sematary is a rushed and sloppy scene for scene redo of the '89 film. There is some improvement in the second half when directors KevinKölschand Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) and screenwriters Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler deviate from the source material. However, it is still a grim and dull movie that takes itself far too seriously. There was lots of potential for moments of devilish humor, but this went unexplored. The bright spot is a good performance by Jeté Laurenceas the couple's daughter. She is a star in the making. 

While not great, but better than Pet Sematary is the similarly themed 1983 Italian horror film Zeder (AKA Revenge of the Dead). Maybe check it out. 

** out of four

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