Pet Sematary (2019) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Pet Sematary (2019) Review

Horrorific content by Ciarán Coleman on May 30th, 2021 | Movie Review | Stephen King, Cursed, Supernatural, Back from the Dead

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It’s about a family becoming surrounded by evil after finding a pet graveyard in the woods behind their new home.

Pet Sematary is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler. It stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, and was based on the monumental Stephen King novel of the same name, released in 1983. It’s the second adaption after the 1989 film.

Sometimes Dead Is Better

Pet Sematary Review

The film follows Louis Creed after he moves to the small town of Ludlow, Maine with his wife, Rachel, their two young children, Ellie and Gage, and Ellie's cat, Church. After Church dies on Halloween, their neighbour Jud Crandall, who has a soft spot for Ellie, takes Louis past the Pet Sematary and to the ancient burial ground where they bury the cat. The next day Church comes back from the dead but it doesn’t take Louis long to realise the cat’s different; more aggressive, violent and evil.

The film follows the family’s dealings with further grief and the constant pull of the ancient burial ground on Louis’ psyche. The highlight of this film is its unique take on horror; when a character brings evil upon themselves in a completely understandable way. Most horror films have the characters experience horrors outside of their control or as a result of their own ignorance, but Pet Sematary provides something rewardingly new in this department. Found in Stephen King’s novel, but somewhat lacking in the original 1989 film, Louis’ inability to escape the pull of the ancient burial ground is brilliant and definitely elevates this film from a filler horror. The acting from Jason Clarke is solid and proves he can hold a lead role effectively, something he should have been offered long before. Christopher Young’s music is also a major positive.

That being said, this film is plagued with flaws, most of them coming from abandoning the source material and exchanging it for cheap jump-scares and poor writing. The acting from Jason Clarke is solid and proves he can hold a lead role effectively, something he should have been offered long before. The scares are varied, sometimes effective but mostly generic and easy to see coming. The film shines when it allows its atmosphere to take over and slowly build up the tension but these moments are few and far between. Because the tension is constantly being broken by needless jumpscares, the pacing feels jagged and damages the otherwise excellent tone ‘Pet Sematary’ has going for it.

Worth Watching?

Yeah. It’s a step or two above mediocre so there’s still a lot to like and appreciate here, even if it does falter throughout. At the very least, it’s still better than the original but I’d highly recommend reading Stephen King’s novel either way.

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