Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

“Sometimes dead is better.” Stephen King has one of his more famous creepy children novels brought back to life, as it has been 30 years since the last Pet Sematary made its way to theatres. Having never read the book or seen the previous film, I thought this might be a good horror movie to see. And although there were plenty of good horror elements, I think this one falls to the wayside, along with too many of King’s other poor adaptations.
The Creed family has moved out of the city and into the backwoods of Maine, where at their new house they discover that the 50 acre plot of land includes a burial ground called “Pet Sematary.” Their new neighbor, Jud (John Lithgow), tells them that their land isn’t worth exploring, as it hides a dark secret. And they learn this all too well, as the family cat is killed, and the father (Jason Clarke) decides to venture into the woods to bury it. Except it doesn’t stay dead. After the cat’s return, things get worse and worse for the family, as they make one mistake after the next that eventually puts them all in ‘grave danger’.
Yeah, every time a Stephen King film hits theatres, I generally wait to hear audience reactions and critic’s ratings before making a decision to see it or not, as there are too many of his movies that are just flat out terrible. This one wasn’t that bad, but it spent way too much time on the creepy house noises and “woods at night” montages, and not enough time telling the story. Because there was probably 60 minutes of good story stuck inside this movie. And from what I’ve heard, the book is pretty good. In this adaptation, there are also some good morsels. First is the daughter, Ellie (Jeté Laurence), as she puts on one heck of a performance, especially in the last 30 minutes. Second, I think the setting was perfect. The woods were just scary enough, and the kids’ procession to bury a dead dog, although short lived, added to the creepy feeling that stuck around for a majority of the film. Third, because I came in blind to the plot, I felt like the turning point in the movie was unexpected. I thought the movie was going to focus more on outside things happening to the family, rather than things happening within the family (and that’s all I will say there). Lastly, there were some good themes and definitely a lot of foreshadowing that, looking back, should clue you in on what’s going to happen next.
The ending scene was a little cheesy, and the final shot was definitely over-the-top, as you know what’s going to happen next and it just makes you want to vomit. They could have done away with all of that, and as I read about the book, just stuck to the original script. But hey, other than that, I didn’t hate the movie. It’s on the fence for me whether of not to recommend it…so I will just say go see it it you enjoy horror films and like a few good jump scares, otherwise I don’t think there’s enough here to spend your money on 🙂 Cheers!

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