Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY review by Patrick Hendrickson – sometimes dead is better

Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY review by Patrick Hendrickson – sometimes dead is better

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PET SEMATARY is the second film adaptation of the novel with the same name written by the master of horror, Stephen King. Jason Clarke stars as Dr. Louis Creed, whose family has just recently acquired a large house with several acres of woods. The Creed family includes Louis’ wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), along with their two children Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and Gage (Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie). The family cat, Church, also makes the move along with them.

Louis’ early days are filled with two significant deaths. The first one being a young student named Victor who begins to haunt Louis’ dreams with cryptic advice and warnings. The second death would be the death of Church, who tragically is run over on the road in front of the Creed family house. The only other notable character would be Jud, played by John Lithgow, who gives the best performance by far as the old and wise neighbor who has been completely alone since the death of his wife. As thanks to the Creed family for befriending him, Jud offers Louis some help after Church is killed.

Lithgow becomes the standout personality of the cast with the only possible competition being Laurence in her role as Ellie. Clarke and Seimetz both do a decent job, but neither has the strength to carry this film. Clarke’s performance in particular is lacking, which is especially unfortunate given that he is in the lead role.

Deep in the forest lies mysterious place where any dead thing that is buried is brought back to life. Louis does this with Church, who returns home shortly after. Church is alive again, but very aggressive and no longer the friendly cat the family once had. I am unfamiliar with both the source novel and with the original film adaptation so I cannot comment on this production’s merit as a remake or as an adaptation of the original novel. I can only comment on this movie alone.

The movie is not particularly scary, which is a pretty big strike against it given that this is considered one of Stephen King’s scarier tales. King himself has said that Pet Sematary is the one novel of his own which scares him the most out of them all. This new take on PET SEMATARY has some pretty effective cinematography to it, along with some rather notable editing. That notability can be either positive or negative depending on the scene but overall the production has a pretty slick look to it. This is not a very visual-effects oriented film but the special effects that are present are done quite well.

The audience itself did not seem to be frightened at any point whatsoever and by the end of the show it had become a joint bout of revelry at the comedy of this production trying to be scary but failing at every turn. Does this earn PET SEMATARY a recommendation? Yes. The film gets a 3/5, but with the disclaimer that it is NOT an effective horror film.

PET SEMATARY opens April 5, 2019

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