Stephen King’s most terrifying novel gets a second chance on the big screen; though ‘Pet Sematary’ is not the first to get remade (and probably will not be the last), it still manages to improve upon the original by upping the scares and creep factor, though at times, it suffers the same ridiculous moments as Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation, which most people harbor a nostalgia for. There is no denying that the original ‘Pet Sematary’ does not hold up well over thirty years, which meant a remake was necessary. With the resurgence of King’s work getting theatrical releases (‘The Dark Tower’, ‘It’), it was inevitable that this creepy tale of a cemetery that resurrects the dead would be due for another cinematic life.
“Sometimes dead is better”, but in this remake’s case, the words of friendly neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) somewhat do not ring true here. It is a gruesome, chilling, dark, and disturbing horror movie when compared to how tame the original seems. Out of all the movies that needed to be remade, ‘Pet Sematary’ needed one, and I was in full support of it when I found out its development. Besides Lithgow, the cast is excellent with Jason Clarke as Doctor Louis Creed, Amy Seimetz as his wife, Rachel, who has a tragic past which requires her to put in the most emotion in her role, while Jeté Laurence, and twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie play their two kids, Ellie and Gage respectively. Add in five rescue cats as Church, and you have a recipe for thematic horror, as we see a family move from Boston to Maine (a staple of King’s work), where a quiet peaceful life turns to terror once the eponymous cemetery is discovered and secrets become uncovered.
While there could be more done with its scary ghosts and skeletons in the closet, ‘Pet Sematary’ does a good job of preparing you for its suspenseful nature, with a dreary atmosphere and grueling imagery. It is not a movie for the faint of heart, as with most horror movies. ‘Pet Sematary’ may not be the greatest horror movie, or one of the best in Stephen King history, but it is one that will stick with you for a long time.