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A Reviving Scare | Review of ‘Pet Sematary’ (2019 Film)


By Cynthia Bujnicki

Pet Sematary (2019) starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Obssa Ahmed & John Lithgow
Paramount Pictures
Image Credit: IMDB

“Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.” —IMDB

What makes Stephen King novels so scary and why he is the master is because he connects everything to something real. It is a very human experience to deal with his scares, and that’s what makes him a compelling storyteller. For his movies, it’s always a touch and go scenario because often those feelings of dread, that fear, doesn’t always translate over to the big screen. Here, the team behind the movie was able to do that.

Whereas the original was little more, well, blood and gore, as was typical in the 80s, this film relies more on the performances of the actors and the storytelling to bring about the scare factor. There is a looming feeling of dread that fills every scene. The trucks are speeding by out of nowhere, the style of the pet cemetery, and the way Church, the cat comes back to life. The actors tap into the grief that drives them to make all the terrible decisions that they make, their love and their emotions for one another compel the story forward. The actors, down to the cat and the makeup artists knew how to create a creepy feeling regarding the characters in the film.

The pacing of the film also works very well to create that tension and feeling of dread. It’s not so much scary per se, there are spooky elements of the film, but the pacing, how slow it moves to build up the horror that’s to come is what makes the film rewarding in the end. It has the spook factor, and yes, while they mainly do rely on jump scares, the emotion that comes off from the actors, the way they play their parts up until the very end pulls the audience in and leaves them with a haunting feeling.

The whole team behind this latest adaptation is what makes the film and an honorable one. Yes, there are divergences from the source material, but there are also nods to the original movie, that makes the film work. I hate reboots that are just carbon copies of the original, my mentality on the matter is give me a new take on the story and this film was able to do that without disrespecting the source material, which is an incredibly difficult task. It has less gore than the original and relies on the acting, movie score, cinematography and makeup to bring to life that eerie, scary feeling. (★★★☆☆ | B)

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—Film Credits—

Directed by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Screenplay by Jeff Buhler

Story by Matt Greenberg

Based on Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Obssa Ahmed & John Lithgow

Rating | Length | Genre: R | 1h 41min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Distributed by Paramount Pictures

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