Pet Sematary (2019)

pet sematary poster 2019 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 4/10

Tries to make something original

Not fun or scary

Movie Info

Movie Name: Pet Sematary

Studio: Alphaville Films

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  March 16, 2019 (South by Southwest)/April 5, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

pet sematary funeral procession

Suddenly Pet Sematary is starting to look like the Wicker Man

Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), and their daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence), and their toddler son Gage (Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie) have move to the Maine town of Lowell to escape Boston and start a new life.  When Ellie discovers a pet cemetery on their property, the family learns from their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) that the children of the town have used the property for decades.  Ellie’s cat Church is run down in the road and Jud reveals that there is something beyond the pet cemetery…something darker and something that is hungry.

Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Pet Sematary is an adaptation of the 1983 Stephen King novel.  The film was previously adapted in 1989 with a sequel released in 1992.  The movie premiered at South by Southwest.

pet sematary indian

I don’t want to buried…in the Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary isn’t one of my favorite Stephen King novels.  It seems to lack heart and tries to hard as the story plods and bumps along the path.  Despite this, the idea of a pet cemetery tucked back in a scary Maine woods is visually creepy and appealing.  The movie loses much of the atmosphere created and comes off more funny than scary.  A *******spoiler alert******* exists for the rest of the review.

The movie attempts to do something different and surprise, but it also was one of those films that suffered from “trailer” syndrome.  The trailer revealed the big twist to the story and negated any surprise.  The story bumbles along in the third act and becomes a bad horror cliché.  It isn’t scary or fun.  The horror of a toddler killer is scary (but also difficult to write to), but a child killer has been done better with more terrifying results.

The cast is fine.  I’m not a big fan of Jason Clarke who seems to always play the same character in all his movies.  Amy Seimetz’s role is so over the top in its story and the melodrama is funnier than it should be.  John Lithgow comes off as creepy instead of likable, but I admire Jeté Laurence who at least tries as the possessed child.

pet sematary ellie jete laurence kills john lithgow

See it’s different because I’m not Gage….as you could see in the trailer

The movie has a great set-up with the children and the pet cemetery.  Like The Wicker Man (the original, not the remake), kids in animal masks are scary.  The rest of the film feels like a hodgepodge of events that don’t string together as well as you’d like them to (I’ve always felt that about the book)…and attempts to top the scary “Zelda” of the original film failed (I did think this Church was more on point with the novel).

I initially dismissed Pet Sematary, but then I started to have some hope for it when it was coming out.  My hope was dashed by the film that didn’t even turn into a bad-fun film.  While the first film was no work of art, I had fun watching it…this film failed on that front.  Sometimes dead is better…and Pet Sematary should have stayed dead.

Related Links:

Pet Sematary (1989)

Pet Sematary 2 (1992)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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