There are good movies based on Stephen King stories and then there are a lot of bad movies based on Stephen King stories. For every Misery (1990) there is a Lawnmower Man (1992).
But where does Pet Sematary fall into these two categories?
I’ll tell you after the trailer…
Based on King’s 1983 novel of the same name, Pet Sematary is a creepy horror tale about reanimating lost loved ones. The film is the second big screen take on King’s novel, following a 1989 adaptation, but the third PS film overall, if you count 1992’s Pet Sematary Two.
This latest movie is also the best Pet Sematary film. This is a good adaptation of the Stephen King story.
No, scratch that – this is a great adaptation, up there with the best of them.
Did you enjoy 2017’s ‘IT’? Thought that film was worthy of King where others have failed?
Then go watch this film.
This is an adaptation of the novel which doesn’t cut corners, doesn’t struggle with the limitations of a budget, and understands the original source material. It’s King as he’s meant to be adapted, by filmmakers who know how to get the best out of the story.
Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer recreate the tone of the book by presenting a dark, atmospheric tale, which doesn’t go for the quick scares but rather builds up the horror. This is a movie that draws heavily from the King aesthetic, while at times does its own thing to keep audiences interested.
This isn’t a word-for-word adaptation – there are differences in this version of the movie. So, if you’ve read the book or watched the ’89 film then you’ll see how things differ.
The main change? In the original story, Gage is the child that dies and then comes back from the grave. In this film, it’s Ellie.
Switching things around for this take not only adds a twist (albeit one given away in the trailer) but also allows for fantastic performance from actress Jeté Laurence. Laurence is a good actress who is able to carry a number of scenes that a lesser child actor would have struggled with and it’s a masterstroke.
By placing the focus on the slightly older sibling for this new movie, the directors are able to make the role much more interesting (and believable). There’s more screen time for Ellie and this creates a better connection between the character and the audience.
Ellie is also downright creepy too. As is the reanimated cat, Church, who pops up frequently throughout the movie.
Again, those familiar with Pet Sematary will know that Church plays a big role in the story and that remains the same for this movie adaptation. The cat appears so often in this film that at one point, a girl sat in the row in front of me shouted, “That f***ing cat is back again!”.
While I’d have preferred it if she had not felt the need to comment, to be fair, she had a point.
But it’s not only the cat and the big ‘twist’ that stand out in this movie, there’s also a reworked ending that adds a new wrinkle to the story. It’s an ending I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.
Ah, well, maybe in a sequel?
I don’t want to see a sequel to this film, because this one ticks all the boxes I need it to tick and tells exactly the story I want. It’s gruesome, it’s unnerving and it’s the sort of film that is perfect for curling up to with the lights down low and the phone switched off.
The horror genre continues to pump out some great movies and Pet Sematary is one of them. It’s a worthy remake.
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