Pet Sematary (2019)
Critic Consensus: Pet Sematary takes its source material in a few different directions, but this remake feels like an exhuming almost as often as it does a revival.
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as Louis Creed
as Rachel Creed
as Ellie Creed
as Gage Creed
as Gage Creed
as Jud Crandall
as Victor Pascow
as Young Rachel
as Upset Student
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Critic Reviews for Pet Sematary
It's just a little too pulpy for the potential power of the story.
Pet Sematary [is a] fable fueled by a sense of culpability for things that aren't always explained.
Clarke is fantastic as Louis, and Laurence is even better as the precocious, painfully sensitive Ellie. She steals the movie, with Kolsch and Widmyer's blessing.
Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer make the tone just a little cheesy, as the premise deserves, but not overripe. The scares are easy -- sometimes literally a cat jumping from the shadows -- but cleanly done.
"Pet Sematary" addresses issues of death and our unwillingness to accept it in a fun, frank manner. The dead don't always have it this good.
Hidden within the deep recesses of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmye's not-that-scary movie is a really compelling film about death, unfortunately they're tasked with a bland, way too literal script to be able to make it.
Audience Reviews for Pet Sematary
The things that this 2019 Pet Sematary add to the original may not strictly speaking be improvements, but at least it's not a shot for shot remake, which it was looking like it might have been based on the trailers. A couple of those additions I was not particularly fondof, one's a massive spoiler so I'll let that slide, but the biggest one I knew going into it, 'cause of the trailers, which is: As much as I appreciate John Lithgow, I really wish they had kept the original guy (or an emulation of him I more mean) on as Jud Crandall. Unrelated sidenote, but when I was young (and I found out about Pet Sematary overall through the Ramones song of the same name) my dad always told me that it was called Pet Sematary and not Pet Cemetary because Americans spelt it that way. That guy lied about... Just everything.
I already know my computer's spell check is going to hate this review. In the wake of the box-office bonanza of It, prolific author Stephen King is a hot property once again for studios and everything old is new again. Pet Sematary (yes it's intentionally misspelled) is a remake of a 1989 that was a hit back in the day. It was never regarded as a good movie but had its campy entertainment, so there was some room for improvement. Early reviews were positive and I raised my hopes for the 2019 edition, but after having seen the finished product, maybe some movies too are better off left dead. Eschewing a sense of camp, the film risks being overrun by its own sense of seriousness, which only works if there is room given to explore the ramifications of grief, the choices people make when they're hurting, and the irony of good intentions. If you're going to go in a serious direction then you need the confidence and dedication to play to that decision, and that's not the case with the 2019 Pet Sematary. It's lacking those important moments of contemplation or even dwelling with the horror of bringing back a loved one from the dead. There's only so much evil hissing cat you can have before you hit a limit and start saying, "What else you got?" There's going to be an escalation, I don't think it's much of a spoiler, considering the nature of the premise but also its predecessor being 30 years old, that one of the children will die only to be brought back. It's also an easy speculation that they will "come back wrong" but the drama is processing this decision and trying to mitigate the mounting consequences. How far will a parent go to protect their child even if that child is an undead murderer? The trials should strain the moral resolve or our protagonist while reveling in the grotesque. Because every viewer is going to already expect this much, it's the film's job to develop this premise in a satisfying manner and/or provide surprises from our expectations. Pet Sematary 2019 unfortunately does neither, barreling through the dramatic downtime when it could be developing its horror and unleashing standard slasher jump scares. When Louis is brushing his daughter's tangled hair he runs his fingers over the metal staples in the back of her skull holding her head together. It's a stark reminder that she is not the same, and it goes beyond her scraggly voice and unyielding stares meant to convey the same information. The film needed more moments like this, small details to unnerve and remind, rather than making her essentially The Ring girl from the start. The movie voluntarily eliminates its own storytelling runway, giving it little room to ramp things up and being forced to simply jump to the big bad killer demon girl. The filmmakers try and compensate somewhat by giving Rachel her own independent haunting, seeing hallucinations of her dead, twisted deformed sister. Those sequences reminded me of the slow stirring sequences in 2017's It, drawing in the audience to dread what will happen next. It's a side plot that could be eliminated entirely and I enjoyed these sequences the most because it was at least something pregnant with possibility. For fans of King, or fans of genre horror, there may be enough standard thrills and chills to enjoy the new Pet Sematary. In the extremely spotty spectrum of King movie adaptations, it's definitely somewhere in the middle, not bad per se but nothing special. Nate's Grade: C+
Whereas King's novel was an atmospheric, slow burn, the film felt rushed and lifeless, like a Wikipedia summary. The filmmakers do not seem to have invested any time in making these characters believable, likable, sympathetic, or engaging. The entire movie simply goes through the motions, aimlessly.
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