Did we really need a Pet Sematary remake? Exactly thirty years after the premiere of the first adaptation (1989), we are treated to an updated version of Stephen Kings’s 1983 novel of the same name. I think that thirty years is enough time for a remake, especially when you consider the fact that most of the movies from the eighties already got their remakes, reboots, and other re’s. Having seen the “original” version and this one, I can say that both of them have their good and bad sides. With King saying that the original was the scarier one, this new version had big shoes to fill. Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Pet Sematary looks and feels good. On the other hand, with material as rich as this one I had to wonder where were those atmospheric wide-shots?
You would expect that they are going to go overboard with the visuals of the cemetery and its surroundings. However, everything seemed kind of low-key and subtle, even reminiscent of the eighties classic. This, of course, created an atmosphere that’s much more claustrophobic and personal, adding to the sense of impending doom. Speaking of the impending doom, I also have to mention that they changed some of the aspects of the story and that these changes didn’t have a negative impact.
Puritans will always find something to bitch about, but I don’t think that these changes should be it. There are some scary and gross scenes and even that creepy atmosphere from the original is here. However, what the movie was going for is sadly missing. And that is to go full-steam ahead into the darkness. Without any apologies and with a lot more fucked up scenes. Surely this isn’t a masterpiece or even a great remake, but it’ll do just fine. On the other hand, if you’re one of those sticklers for details looking to see your favorite novel come to life, you’ll be disappointed.
Ahhh, life in the countryside never seemed more appealing than now. The Creed family thought so too, moving from the busy streets of Boston to a small town of Ludlow, Maine. Louis, his wife Rachel, and their two kids liked their new home at first. Louis was enjoying his new job in the University hospital and kids roaming freely in the surrounding nature. However, soon they will discover that Ludlow has some pretty fucked up secrets.
What saved this movie were the dedicated and convincing performances. The cast was simply stellar led by Jason Clarke who shined as Louis. John Lithgow was also great as the creepy neighbor and it was good to see him in this genre. I wonder why he’s not doing more horror movies, he’s perfect for them. Now, let’s talk about gore and themes explored in this movie. First of all, while some pretty gnarly gore is present, it’s mostly cosmetic. It lacks any real punch and those fucked up themes seem relatively timid. And although directors and writers are boasting about how “dark” the movie is, it’s actually not. Mostly because of the visuals towards the end.
Just imagine what directors like Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Audition, Ichi the Killer) would do with this material. With jump scares as its greatest asset, the movie glances over potent plot twists, only to come back to the right track in the very end. And that fucking cat was scary as shit, something that will go well with all those cat lovers out there. In the end, Pet Sematary is a decent remake worth checking out. If for nothing else than for the updated visuals despite the superior storytelling in the original.
Directors: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writers: Stephen King, Matt Greenbergs, Jeff Buhler
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera
Fun Facts: Andy Muschietti, who directed another adaptation of Stephen King’s work, It (2017), expressed interest in directing this film.