Pet Sematary Movie Review - Rather Tame forebodings
Co-directors Kevin KÃ¶lsch and Dennis Widmyer don't have much of a challenge on their hands, given the fact that there's no attempt being made here to tell the story from a different vantage point
U/A: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Dennis Widmyer, Kevin Kolsch
Cast: Jete Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Jason Clarke, Lucas Lavoie, Amy Seimetz
The 1989 version of Pet Sematary based on the 1983 Stephen King novel, was certainly no classic but it was a cheesy horror tale powered by a solid performance from Fred Gwynne and the title song from the Ramones was quite rage. Given the cult popularity of horror films today, it's no surprise that even such an unremarkable representative of the genre gets recast for the GenNext voyeurs of horror thrills. Co-directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer don't have much of a challenge on their hands, given the fact that there's no attempt being made here to tell the story from a different vantage point.
Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), eight-year-old daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence), two-year-old son Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie) and pet cat Church—relocate to a rustic home in the quaint rural town of Ludlow, Maine. Though there's plenty of land, with a mysterious pet cemetery and a strange bog behind the home there's not much of it in front - with a state highway running through right at the curb just off their driveway. So one would think that responsible parents would take the trouble of checking out their abode and taking the necessary precautions before moving in.
Check out the trailer here:
Such deliberate contrivance is of course a given for a horror film attempting to spook you by suggestions rather than facts. Soon enough the pet cat gets crushed under a speeding mammoth and the grieving Dr Clarke, helped on by friendly neighbour Jud Crandall(John Lithgow) takes the cat to be buried near the mysterious bog which apparently has mystical powers of resurrecting the dead. A rather convenient ploy to give wandering souls a rejuvenated body to do evil. The rest of it is rather brutal.
The film, as the book, is riddled with plenty of plot holes but King's book at least had a descriptive set-up that kept the interest going. The film doesn't have much exposition. The wife's torment from a traumatic experience during childhood is represented through hallucinatory flashbacks and the tragedies that befall the Creed family just keep piling up soon after they move in. The directors and writer Jeff Buhler, make a few deviations but they play out as altogether facile and non-requiting. The actors do their job well but the narrative doesn't create enough empathy for us to be worried about their fate. Closing it out with a Starcrawler cover of the Ramones's original theme may stir up some nostalgia but that's not going to spook you. Even King's original denouement gets replaced and that makes this particular effort altogether superficial.
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