Based on the novel by Stephen King, the update of this horror film was directed by Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes, Absence) and Dennis Widmyer (Holidays). It is another example of it is better leaving things alone. While the first was not a great example of horror this one doesn’t even live up to that standard.
Wanting to slow down and spend more time with their children, the Creeds, Louis (Jason Clarke – Zero Dark Thirty, Mudbound) and Rachel (Amy Seimetz – from television’s Stranger Things), move from Boston to rural Maine. While their son Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie) is very young so the adjustment is quick, their daughter Ellie (Jet Laurence – The Snowman) is not so thrilled with the change. She finds solace in her beloved pet cat and an older next door neighbour.
Widower Jud (John Lithgow – The World According to Garp, Pitch Perfect 3) finds the young girl lost in the dense woods on the Creeds property. Rescuing her, he wins her over when he shows her the pet semetary which is there. Rachel is originally suspicious of Jud, but soon she and Louis are won over. Rachel is a naturally distrustful and nervous woman as a tragedy happened in her childhood involving her older sister.
The Creeds begin to settle into the routine and pace of their new surroundings. Then a couple of tragedies strike altering their idyllic new home. First, Ellie’s cat is hit by a truck and killed. Louis and Jud bury it in the Pet Sematary. When it returns and is not quite the loving pet it used to be Louis is concerned. Then at a birthday party for Ellie something even more tragic occurs.
Afterwards, Rachel and Ellie return to Boston. Louis stays behind. He needs more time to grieve. With his heart broken the lure of the powers of Pet Sematary draw Louis in. What follows proves that once dead all living things should remain so.
Rarely are Stephen King novels, which generally manage to be creepy/scary, given their rightful due when it comes to adapting them to the screen. Pet Sematary is a perfect example of that. A fun read with plenty of creepy things coming back to life and being rather evil moments. Somehow no one has manage to translate those fun scares into a decent film.
Here the tension is built ably and John Lithgow is perfect as the widowed neighbour, but there is where the positives end. You can manage to be entertained by the film, but it is not a quality watch.
This is horror. The goal of the genre is to scare or creep out viewers. There are precious few scares here. Too bad. The concept is cool, but the execution is lacking. Maybe sensing the inability to fulfill their mandate, the directors begin to wobble out of control during the last third of the film with it just spiralling into ridiculousness. Not something fans of the genre will be shouting from the tops of mountains about.
-Deleted and Extended Scenes
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