MOVIE REVIEW | “Pet Sematary”

By STACY BAUER
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“Pet Sematary” is the second remake of horror writer Stephen King’s 1983 novel of the same name. The first was a 1989 film adaptation by Mary Lambert. The title seems misspelled, as the burial place was named by children, but there’s nothing innocent about the “sacred” neighborhood resting grounds – nothing is resting.

Directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (both on 2014’s Starry Eyes), the screenplay was further adapted from King’s work, by Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler.

A burned out Emergency Room doctor, Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), tired of the rat race in the big city, decides to move his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and two young children, Ellie (Jete Laurence) and toddler, Gage (twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie), to a country house in small town Maine, not realizing their property backs onto the haunted ruins of an ancient Native American burial ground.

The neighboring spirts are neither hospitable nor benevolent, and the physical ground holds a horrifying power. When the family’s beloved feline, Church, dies, a kind neighbor (John Lithgow) encourages Louis to bury their dead cat in the cemetery.

02The next day Church returns, but of course he’s far from his usual purring, kitty-cat self. Soon there’s an unexpected family tragedy, and Louis next tries burying a human body, leading to a grisly, familial blood bath, a classic theme in the King canon.

Expect suspenseful “thrills” (if you want to call it that), and scenes of violence, though the actual gore-factor is satisfying low (unless you’re into gore). It’s definitely a dark and disturbing story throughout.

The original novel focused on topics surrounding childhood trauma, grief, loss, and familial pressures and values to keep everything steady. Specifically, shielding children from dealing with their own mortality and that of the animals and loved ones around them, was central.

This isn’t a direct teaching-moment; obviously it’s not a movie for kids. But it is a good reminder that death is the toughest part of life, for us to come to terms with.

Pet Sematary is rated R and has a run time of 101 minutes.

 

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