Pet Sematary is now the second adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel, this time starring Jason Clarke and John Lithgow. This Pet Sematary follows the same story structure as King’s novel and the 1989 movie, but with a few new changes and twists. Pet Sematary is about the Creed family who moves into a new home in Ludlow Maine, whose house is on a busy highway where the big semi-trucks drive a little too fast for comfort. The house also backs onto a large forested area where down the path, the local children have made a burial ground for all of their pets, The Pet Sematary. This forest soon proves to be much more powerful than imaginable.
Pet Sematary is definitely creepy and has genuinely startling jump scares, but doesn’t give much time for us to learn anything really about our main protagonist, Louis Creed (Jason Clarke). While Jason Clarke gives a very good performance, the film takes no time to develop his character. I find this a bit odd, as this was one of the issues the original 1989 film had, so you think they would’ve learned from that… I guess not. Considering the book is told from his perspective and the source material gives a lot of rich character development to him, the filmmakers just choose not to dive into it. It just made me have a hard time latching on to his character and feeling for him when the crap hits the fan.
The first act of the film is very exposition heavy. A lot of setup happens very quickly and is glossed over with a character just explaining plot points that will later become relevant to the story. This hurts the relationship between Jud (the elderly next door neighbor played by John Lithgow) and Louis that is sorely underdeveloped. The intro to the film moves just way to quick for me. This movie is only 100 minutes and could have easily added an extra 10-15 minutes to the beginning of the movie to flesh these story introduction scenes out more.
Okay, negatives, done and out of the way.
Amy Seimetz’s Rachel Creed was so good. She’s given the most character development and her scenes at the end when all hell has broken loose anchor the films emotional weight. Her backstory told through flashback and how they continue to haunt her provided the scariest and creepiest scenes in the movie.
The atmosphere is creepy. The forest really feels like it’s own character and is honestly the antagonist of the movie. Everything from the masks the kids where when burying an animal to the incredible sound design is spin shivering, goosebump-inducing kind of creepy. No spoilers for the ending, but a great and horrifying last 20 minutes to the films epic and climatic ending.
A weak first act, but a strong end, Pet Sematary is a creepy atmospheric horror film with a great pace, building to the final act. Pet Sematary is a decent adaptation to Stephen King’s novel. Unfortunately, we are unable to grow any strong connection to Louis or his relationship with Jud, which for me, brings this film down from being a great classic horror film to one that’s just good. One that fans of horror will not be disappointed with.