Sometimes, dead is better.
And sometimes, rebooting a film is worse. The latest Stephen King novelization-turned film to be rebooted comes in the form of Pet Sematary, a terrifying look into the causality of bringing the dead back to life. We all know the story: a family moves to a new home, their cat is killed, the dad buries it in an ancient Indian burial ground, yada yada yada. Let’s get into the highs and lows of 2019’s Pet Sematary.
After seeing the film and dissecting it, it’s hard to pick out things that were actually enjoyable about it. The initial introduction of the pet sematary brought back the creepy feelings from the original version, as the visuals made for an eerie setting. Dense fog, moonlight, a plethora of graves and an unseen supernatural force set the scene in a way that would have been great had the rest of the film actually been any good. That about sums up this portion of the review, now onto the bad. Dear lord, is there a lot of bad.
Chris Clarke and John Lithgow lead a cast that seemed to be sleepwalking through this schlocky remake of the 1989 version. The bad all-around acting paired with predictable moments made for comically bad scenes that weren’t meant to be funny. It got so bad that others in the theater were actually laughing, which is fine if you’re watching a bad 80s B-horror film. But with the success of 2017’s IT, audiences may be upset about how this film turned out.
Pet Sematary also suffers from a runtime that should have been at least 20 minutes shorter, with elements added in that had no substance. For instance, Amy Seimitz, who plays Rachel, the mother and wife in the Creed family, was given a back story that revolves around her sister who died as a child. Rachel has many flashbacks about her sister, who seems to be haunting her, but ultimately this arc has no real purpose to the film, making it feel like it was thrown in so that she had more to do.
Another plot point surrounds Chris Clarke’s character, Louis, who loses a patient at the beginning of the film. Louis is also haunted by this character and somehow his young son, Gage, winds up seeing this apparition later on in the film, which really made no sense whatsoever. These random hauntings added nothing to the main plot of the film and simply served as filler, taking away from what the film was trying to focus on.
Another plot point that made no sense comes at the end of the film, as John Lithgow’s character, Jud, is attacked by a resurrected Ellie Creed. Ellie somehow morphs into Jud’s deceased wife, as Ellie mentions something to the effect that Jud did something to cause his wife’s death, but this revelation is never explained or mentioned again. Did Jud kill his wife? Did he have something to do with her death? The world may never know. One final gripe revolves around Pet Sematary’s marketing, specifically from scenes showing the weird children wearing animal masks marching through the woods. The initial trailers made it seem like these children were going to have a major arc, but aside from seeing them in the beginning of the film, they’re never shown again.
This version of Pet Sematary was extremely disappointing, lacked any kind of depth, and was laughably bad. The film wasted too much time trying to mix in other elements that added nothing to the main plot, adding to an inflated runtime. Watching the adults struggle and fail to hold off a 9-year-old girl really took the wind out of the sails. Pet Sematary felt like the director had a bunch of ideas, wrote them on pieces of paper, pinned them to a dart board, and went with whatever pieces of paper he hit with said darts.
If you actually enjoyed this film, let us know what you liked about it in the comments section below. And if you didn’t also let us know why.
Editor-In-chief/Host. Father. Husband. Movie & TV nerd.