Following hot on the heels of the recent remake of IT (2017), a remake of another of Stephen King’s terrifying novel-to-film adaptations was released this year – Pet Sematary.
Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Steimetz, and John Lithgow, Pet Sematary may not have proved as popular as the remake of IT – which has been hailed has the highest grossing horror movie of all time – but it certainly serves up plenty of classic horror thrills and spills.
A New Place to Call Home
Based on Stephen King’s 1983 novel of the same name, Pet Sematary tells the story of the Creed family who move from big city Boston to pastoral Ludlow, Maine into a house bordered by a lush forest. Here, the family hopes, dad Louis will have more time to spend with his children Ellie and Gage, while their mother, Rachel, recovers from recent trauma.
Their new home seems idyllic at first, but the first hint of something being amiss comes in the form of a group of children trudging through the forest wearing wicker masks to bury a family pet.
The Departure of Church
As neighbour Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) states, the border of the family’s new home is “further than you ever want to go” and when Ellie’s beloved cat, Church, is tragically killed, Jud leads Louis to a curiously misspelt “pet sematary” where anything buried dead returns alive and not quite well.
After being buried, Church returns to the family home, but isn’t the loving cat he once was and Jud warns that “sometimes, dead is better” – it’s enough to make you turn to online slots Australia for a reprieve! Despite being warned and having evidence to back up the foreboding feeling, Louis makes a decision which leads the family on a horrifying journey.
Not Exactly a Precise Retelling
With the objective of not simply remaking the original, screenwriter Jeff Buhler has made significant changes to the plot in order to surprise those intimately familiar with the novel and 1989 film.
However, despite key differences, King’s familiar themes remain: age-old parental anxieties of children and death set against the terror of a landscape turning on its inhabitants.
Originally Considered too Dark
Once completed, King himself once thought Pet Sematary too dark and twisted for publication, but it proved to have everything his fans wanted – particularly the eerie feeling of doom-laden grief which seeps through the entire plot.
This remake is at once made whole by Christopher Young’s dark score and the haunting cinematography of Laurie Rose, while the jump-scares and Cronenberg-esque body horror will satisfy even the most hardboiled horror fan.
Better than the Original
While it’s hard to compare a remake possibly made better by current technology to a film from the late 80s, we can say with absolute certainty that 2019’s Pet Sematary blows the original out of the water.
Clarke and Seimetz are painfully believable in their parental roles, while Jeté Laurence who plays Ellie has cemented her status as a rising star and John Lithgow provides suitable terror right up to the macabre finale.