Pet Sematary is a needless remake that was better left dead

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Pet Sematary is a needless remake that was better left dead

Brendan Sheardy, Staff Writer

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  Pet Sematary is a remake of the 1989 horror film, based on the book written by Stephen King. This film follows the Creed family as they move into a new house in the country to settle down. Things go awry when Jud shows Louis Creed the “Pet Sematary”, a mysterious cemetery that can bring things back to life. It stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, and Jete Laurence and is directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.

  If you asked me a few weeks ago if I was excited for the remake of Pet Sematary, I would’ve answered with a very enthusiastic “yes”. It opened at SXSW Film Festival to very strong reviews, holding a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes two weeks before release. However, I began to become more skeptical as the reviews seemed to plummet closer to release. The Rotten Tomatoes score dropped an astonishing 30% down to 60% and a 45% audience score. So, when I sat down in my seat at the theater, if you asked me if I was still excited, I would’ve given you a saddened “no”. That would describe my feelings about this film- SAD.

  This was such wasted potential. The story of Pet Sematary is one of the best ever thought of. It leaves so much space for suspense and themes of grief and death, none of which are present in this film. There is maybe one scene in the film that was somewhat creepy, but it comes far too late in the film where there is no chance of getting the audience interested again.

  Essentially, this is just a straight-up copy of the 1989 original, a scene for scene remake that tries nothing new and makes the exact same movie as Mary Lambert’s version. This made it difficult to enjoy and get invested since you’ve already seen the film before. It more or less feels like a rewatch, which makes it drag. Many may be okay with this since it is technically a remake, but for me the point of a remake isn’t to just do the same that the original filmmakers did, but to push the boundaries and make your own film while also keeping the same story intact. Here, the directors just do the exact same thing as the original, down the the shot structure. It made for a very uninteresting experience.

  Jason Clarke is fine as Louis Creed, his character was just so bland. Clarke is dull in the role but not because he did a poor acting job, but the script doesn’t ask for him to do anything of significance. He has no backstory and no personality at all,  a very one-dimensional lead character, which added to the dullness of the film, since we follow him for most of the movie.

  I don’t like ragging on child actors since it’s almost one in a million to get a great performance out of such a young child, but Jete Laurence was not good here. I don’t even blame her either, I feel like the script and the directors never called on her to show any sort of emotion, so she feels robotic for all of her scenes. She gets especially bad when she is resurrected in the third act, and every time she tried to be creepy, it came off as unintentionally funny instead of scary.

  John Lithgow is easily the best part of this movie. He is great in everything, but he was especially compelling here. He gives off so much personality for the character of Jud, who has a lot of knowledge of the area and the Pet Sematary, which makes his very fun to watch.

  I didn’t want to compare this to the original film, but I feel like it’s impossible since it’s basically an exact copy. However, the original had much more personality than this did.

  No, the original is not a good film. It’s hoaky and campy, just like many 80s horror films, but I feel like it added to the fun of it. Here, a flat and voiceless film that never touches on it’s potential themes and doesn’t provide any scares or suspense for the audience to enjoy. It’s disappointing that the filmmakers couldn’t come up with anything new to the table.

  Overall, I cannot recommend Pet Sematary to you, even if you are a long time Stephen King fan. If you enjoy the original, you’ve already seen this before so it would be a waste of time and money to see this.

  Rating: 2/10

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