Like the characters returning to life from the grave, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have given life to another adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary but this time, it comes back different.
Did We Enjoy It?
We thoroughly enjoyed Pet Sematary and the one thing this remake brings to the table is very painful-looking gore, blood curdling screams and plenty of moments that made us pull our coats over our face. There were plenty of horrible scenes in this film, but it was missing the real fear that you get when you actually like the characters and want them to be okay, which couldn’t truly happen as characters weren’t developed. The children in the masks that you see in the trailer and on the poster were definitely creepy, but completely unnecessary and sadly a waste of something that could have been developed into something interesting. We have brief moments like when Rachel comes home and is faced with what Louis has done and this is just skin-crawlingly awful. We can’t deny the genuine horror of those scenes, watching an already grief-stricken woman forced to confront her child that just been brought back to life and her insane husband who is too far gone and has an inability to process what’s happened. We witness his mistakes drag them all down. This concept does give me some Hereditary-style creeps but only in brief scenes, and the rest of the film doesn’t flesh out the characters enough to reach the kind of fear that sticks with you long after the film has ended.
Themes… In A Pop-Corn Horror?
Yes, believe it or not, Pet Sematary is so much deeper than your average Conjuring Universe film. There were many themes explored in this adaptation and one dilemma that is explored are lies and truths. Throughout the film, conflicts arise from either choosing to lie in order to ease suffering. Although the mothers subplot about her sister feels as though its under developed and has no pay-off, the mothers guilt about her sisters death is what causes her to want to sugar-coat to Ellie that Church has died. Kolsch and Widmyer visually highlight the focus of this struggle whether to tell the truth or lie. An example of this is when the parents go to lie about the cats death, and by Ellie’s bedroom window where block letters spell out her name, the cat has knocked over the first ‘L’ in Ellie, leaving the letters spelling LIE. As the film progresses, the truth is repeatedly confronted and this gives the film some great depth besides cheap jump scares.
The Cast… Sterotypical, Cheesy, Horror Actors?
Nope. This cast were noteworthy in achieving the required levels of dread and distress, all realistic emotions akin to whats happening in the film. Jason Clarke seamlessly switches up his character from caring dad to a sickly, madman after he brings his daughter back to life. Each cast member (even little Gage) expertly conveys the range of emotions each character would be experiencing, the overwhelming sadness, the fear, grief and the madness. The standout performance has got to be Jete Lawrence as Ellie. The trailer spoiled the twist that Ellie would be the one to die rather than her younger baby brother Gage (as in the book), but she maturely handles the transformation from sweet innocent girl to soulless killer when she returns from the dead in. Church the cat is the real MVP, they did well in actually making him really scary with his clouded over eyes and him just sat, watching everything go to shit.
Should You Watch It?
I’m sure the novel that it is based on is much more fleshed out, but as for this movie; I was wanting a little bit more than I got from it. The positives really do shine such as the themes and the acting making it so much more than your average jump scare horror, but the negatives of this causes it to be a forgettable film. Nevertheless, this is still a great horror and definitely one to see with friends on the big screen, but you might not come back the same.
EASTER EGG: Yes, theres a nod to IT you need to look out for, indicating they’re in the same universe.