Pet Sematary delivers in thrills but falls short

Left to right: Amy Seimetz as Rachel, Hugo Lavoie as Gage, Jason Clarke as Louis and Jeté Laurence as Ellie in PET SEMATARY, Image acquired from Paramount Pictures.
Left to right: Amy Seimetz as Rachel, Hugo Lavoie as Gage, Jason Clarke as Louis and Jeté Laurence as Ellie in PET SEMATARY, Image acquired from Paramount Pictures. /

Stephen King’s theatrical adaptation of Pet Sematary takes another fresh outlook as the “reboot” hit theaters this past weekend.

The original Pet Sematary, released back in 1989 and based on Stephen King’s book, follows the story of a family in Maine that moves to a new house in a rural Ludlow, Maine. Dr. Louis Creed, along with wife Rachel, daughter Ellie, son Gage, and family cat Church have to relocate to a new house by the woods where a mysterious pet cemetery is located.

They soon discover an ancient burial ground that revives the buried. Sorrow and grief become a major moving point that drives Dr. Louis Creed to take a rash decision. The rest unfolds with gruesome moments that at times deliver and at others fail with ineffective suspenseful shocks.

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This has to rank as one of the top Stephen King adaptations in terms of terror in film history though. The Shining being arguably the top psychological horror thriller, followed by either Misery or Carrie. But Pet Sematary holds it’s own weight and delivers when it needs to. Now, the ranking is based on the suspenseful thrill that is Pet Sematary combined with some great performances, but as an overall movie in terms of tone, script and overall story, it deviates from the book and falls short.

Expect a lot of thrills and “out of your chair” jump scares, but it does not do justice to an already classic original. The acting, however, was on par as Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and Jete Laurence provide great in-depth characters that solidify the pace of the movie. Even John Lithgow, who is key in major supporting actor roles, has a strong performance that unravels the storyline throughout the movie. The ending was the turning point that resulted in a defying moment that disappointed many viewers.

Left to right: Jason Clarke as Louis and John Lithgow as Jud in PET SEMATARY, Image acquired from Paramount Pictures. /

One crucial thing that ruined the tone of the movie was that the trailer unveiled a major spoiler. The rest became quite predictable. The ending can be debated as a 50/50 turn in terms of predictability but, by then, the premise had under-delivered and seemed rather bland. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments that had me on the edge of my seat, including Rachel’s story with her sister that created an intriguing and well-needed backstory that developed as the filmed progress.

The supernatural presence reminds us of what King’s stories do and how well they deliver. Pet Sematary does in spades regarding the suspense and thrill of the ride but slides as an adaptation to a great story. The ending albeit unexpected lacked consistency and in an odd way felt overplayed like a ghastly zombie movie.

Definitely worth an outing to the theater but will not be a box office hit while others before it raked in that Stephen King psychological thrill.

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What did you all think of the movie?  Will you give it a shot? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Pet Sematary is out in theaters now.