The film still feels powerful and overbearing, with its definite depressive nature, resembling the same story whilst making it fresh for a wizened audience
Stephen King stories are valued as essential top-tier work in a genre that so often struggles with the production line of cinematic features. Horror has, for a very long time, been a particularly divisive section of world cinema, but the quality that the work of Stephen King brings to it, is unparalleled. And this includes the ability to remake adaptations of his work over, and over, again; with themes and plot lines that offer enough for multiple interpretations of the work.
Yet 2019’s version of Pet Sematary takes this to a place of its own, adding self-created twists to a now well known tale. And by doing this in both a respected and impressive manner, the film becomes better off for it, forging its own path rather than treading the one well worn.
Tired of their busy lives in Boston, Louis (Jason Clarke) and Rachel (Amy Seimetz) move to rural Maine with their two children for a change of scenery. Disturbed by a nearby cemetery for local pets, the family don’t adjust to the scenery as quickly as they dreamed they would. So when family cat Church dies in a road accident, neighbour Jud (John Lithgow) takes Louis beyond the cemetery to secretly bury the body. Waking up the next morning, Louis discovers Church has returned, though his personality seems to be drastically different to that of him pre-death.
In a very similar vein to 2017’s It, Pet Sematary takes advantage of freshly advanced technology to update the story for a demanding modern audience. Some of the green screen work is a little questionable, but other than those rare moments, the feature is visually impressive, with great direction and performances as equally cinematic. Seimetz especially sells her personal torment well, with sub-plots adding much of the outright horror Pet Sematary utilises.
By providing this horror in multiple areas of the feature, directors Widmyer and Kölsch are able to seamlessly add their twists and personal touch to the well known story without taking away any of the quality. The film still feels powerful and overbearing, with its definite depressive nature, resembling the same story whilst making it fresh for a wizened audience. It’s tough to take against the changes because they are implemented so harmoniously.
Pet Sematary doesn’t change horror, but it offers a great addition to the wonderful films currently reaching the big screen. It offers great insight and true understanding, whilst using its fluidity to step out from the standard. It is thoroughly enjoyable and at times truly haunting, with enough intrigue to please anyone who already loved the original novel or the 1989 classic.
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