Pet Semetary

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Pet Sematary is a blood-curdling chiller that adds new twists to King’s novel yet stays incredibly faithful to its dark spirit. Smartphones and other products of the digital age have been added, but the plot trots along the same surface.

The story starts off with a family moving in to a new house right next to a speedy highway, but the catch is that there is a ritual pet sematary on the land fairly close to the house. Next we meet the neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), an old coot who befriends the Creeds — he’s especially partial to Ellie — and tells them about the old Native-American graveyard out back where kids bury their road kill. A sign nailed to a tree reads, “Pet Sematary,” speaking to spelling deficiencies among the young locals.  It’s Jud who tells the Creeds about the burial ground’s powers of reanimation and the rituals needed to pull off the miracle. Unfortunately, resurrection puts Church in a terrible mood. This prompts Jud, like Gwynne before him, to say the line, “Sometimes dead is better.” Ellie, the doctors daughter is next to die. While playing outside at her birthday party, she sees her resurrected cat sitting in the street, so she runs out to go see him and gets mashed by a semi truck. The dad tries the same ritual on his daughter that he did on the cat and sure enough it works but she isn’t the same. She comes back and kills everyone and buries them to turn them into the brain dead zombies like she is. The ending of this movie definitely could’ve been better for sure. It ended in a cheesy, predictable way.


And while the remake has its fair share of laughs, the humor is cutting,  and the performances, especially by Lithgow (Jud) and young Laurence, go beyond the call of genre duty. Pet Sematary is hobbled by some cheesy special effects, crude misdirections and frustratingly undeveloped ideas. But the movie honors King by raising fresh hell for a new generation. It will make you jump out of your seat, but what matters are the provocations you take home and can’t shake.