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Flaws aside, ‘Pet Sematary’ is a fun horror romp

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Author Stephen King’s newest adaptation is brought back to life, remade into something terrifying and fresh.

Directed by Kevin Kölsch (Starry Eyes, Absence) and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Absence), Pet Sematary stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie.

A Bostonian family moves to rural Maine and find out that part of the deep wooded land that they bought included a haunted burial ground with a mysterious presence that reanimates the dead.

A remake of the 1989 original, 2019’s Pet Sematary is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.

There are more than 40 films based on the author’s work or written by him. 2019’s Pet Sematary ranks among the best.

The filmmakers embrace the silliness and work with it to mold what could have been cringeworthy and stupid into a chilling tale about the afterlife and morality.

Even if a hardcore horror fan hasn’t seen the original, the concept is familiar. The thought of a cat being brought back to life after being buried is cemented in horror pop culture’s veins.

But Kölsch and Widmyer’s direction forge a more serious tone that works with some of the more cliché moments.

When Clarke’s character Louis loses his mind after a horrible tragedy, it would be easy to judge his decision to bring someone back to life using a supernatural entity. However, Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler wrote a contained story that makes the audience feel more sympathetic towards Louis’ choices.

The acting is one of the top aspects that makes this story work, though. Everyone from Lithgow as Jud to Laurence as Ellie commits to their roles and it hits on a horror level. Emotions run rampant throughout the movie. In one scene, you may feel depressed as hell and in the next, you may feel shocked and horrified.

My favorite parts aside, the first half feels like a long exposition for a story that doesn’t really start until the beginning of the second half.

Pet Sematary keeps a creepy vibe for most of the movie, even in more boring, explanatory scenes, of which there are far too many. It feels like a long as hell introduction to a short film that is as good as the best horror movies of the past couple years.

The writers designed a script that’s more synthetic and not as natural; sort of like factory-made versus something fabricated at a mom-and-pop shop.

As far as manufactured stories go, or, in this case, parts of the story, Pet Sematary is a fun, well-structured film that gets straight to the point.

We’ve seen films, even recently, that have different plots and themes that lead nowhere. This adaption clocks in at around an hour and 40 minutes. There are a few hiccups on the surface, but it completes the job at hand.

However you feel about Pet Sematary, there’s no denying that it would do well on streaming services, especially during Halloween.

Pet Sematary

7.5

Hits
  • Creepy, yet works well with a silly plot
  • Great and believable cast performances
  • Tells a fun linear story without confusing subplots
Misses
  • First half feels like a synthetic setup to second half

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