Pet Sematary (2019) review
The afterlife is such a subjective matter for those that are religious and non-religious. For this reason, I rarely like to bring up my own beliefs. I just never found it fair to be the one to say "my way is the correct way" when I can't create proof. But it's also fair to say whenever we lose someone, we bring up again whether we'll see them again someday. It's a battle we deal with our entire life, even within our childhood. We all have that memory of having to flush that goldfish down the toilet or bring told from our parents that the lovable dog won't be living much longer.
It remains a heavy matter simply because we don't know what happens. Author Stephen King has done a great job of toying his readers with that notion with the constant figures that are ghosts, demons, and monsters and yet filling it with human characters that struggle with their religious beliefs. There has to be a lot of personal experience attached to his stories, and it was no wonder that people were attached to Pet Semetary, a story about bringing back those we've lost. It had a movie in 1989 and we're here to look at the latest retelling of Pet Sematary.
Dr. Louis Creed (played by Jason Clarke) has just moved from Boston to Ludlow, Maine with his wife Rachel (played by Amy Seimetz), daughter Ellie (played by Jeté Laurence), and baby son Gabe. Their new home seems like a nice, country-house that would be ideal for a lot of families. They even have a large forest as a backyard. When Ellie goes looking in that forest, she comes across a pet cemetery (though spelled as Sematary) and gets stung. A kind elderly neighbor Jud (played by John Lithgow) brings her back to her family and talk about the place.
Jud tells them that the cemetery is a popular town spot for people to bury their pets. This puts Rachel into a tough spot as she doesn't want to bring up the subject of death to her daughter yet, and is experiencing flashbacks to her traumatic childhood. Things become more troubling when the family cat, "Mr. Church" gets run over. Jud, not wanting Ellie to experience her first lost, tells Louis about the "real" cemetery, past the Pet Sematary. As Louis comes to realize, "Sometimes, dead is better".
Part of what makes the new Pet Sematary a good movie is what isn't spoiled. I can only say that the changes made were good changes. Does this make it better then the original. I guess it depends on what your looking for. I personally like the original Pet Sematary, but I can't say either is better then the other. It depends on what I wanted, and I prefer scary movies that can build a spooky atmosphere throughout. This does that well as right from the start, as based on how dreary a chunk of it feels, even when nothing scary is happening.
Pet Sematary creates a good atmosphere thanks to it's script, which I'll say is better creating claustrophobic tension and character development then the original. Though I was hoping for a little more history on the town and it's use of the cemetery (which I thought the original did better then), it does make sense that for a movie, it’s better to keep focus on the main characters.
Speaking of which, Jason Clarke does a good job as the conflicted father who understands that his new is nothing like he's ever experienced, but still want to maintain a happy family. He's a guy for good for horror stories, as his eyes really know how define fear. To balance that out, his neighbor John Lithgow does well as the typical wise mentor. Though I'll always love Fred Gwynne, John Lithgow isn't as knowledgeable about the cemetery as before, so he's just as clueless about what will happen as Jason Clarke is. This makes for a spookier experience where there isn't someone that knows what's going to happen. Though I can't give it away why, the actress playing the daughter is amazing at playing…two sides to her character.
I'll give this four Pet Sematary signs out of five. I can say that even when comparing to the original (I can't do so for the novel as I haven't read it), it's a good horror movie. I will warn though that due to its themes, this is a more somber story then some might expect. If that doesn’t bother you, then your in for a good story. Dead is better sometimes, but Pet Sematary is close. Go check it out if you’re a Stephen King or horror fan in general,.