Amy SeimetzJason Clarke...
Dennis WidmyerKevin Kölsch
In 10 Cinemas
The better the novel, the more likely the film adaptation will disappoint. And what better a novel than one written by a master of horror, Stephen King. Pet Semetary is another adaptation of the writer’s best-selling work that tries to live up to the wonderous horror of King’s writing.
The 2019 remake follows Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) as they move with their two children Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and Gage (Lucas Lavoie) to a new house with a backyard leading into the woods. The family discovers that part of their new property is a burial ground where locals perform weird rituals. After the family’s cat dies, and with insistence from neighbour Jud (John Lithgow), Dr Creed buries the cat in the mysterious burial ground. Soon enough, the cat comes back to life, and even though the cat is definitely not the same, a tragic incident leads Dr Creed to put the burial ground’s powers into more profound use.
If you have seen the previous film adaptation or read the book, you know how the plot goes, but the movie was able to add some elements that really linger with you and help set the film apart. One of these elements is the depiction of Rachel’s backstory with her sister, which was so good that it could have even developed as a film on its own. Another is the depiction of the injured boy that warns Dr Creed, which is really creepy and definitely memorable.
Other than those instances, the film mainly sticks to the standard scheme of both horror films in general and the realms of the story’s previous adaptation.
The plot moves quickly, leaving no lags for audiences to feel bored. However, it lacks when it comes to characterisation; the audience gets to know very little about each of the characters and therefore does not get to care much when they face a tragedy or are in danger.
Pet Semetary does not rely mainly on special effects and jump scares like most horror films, but instead focuses on creating genuinely creepy moments.
As for the acting, Jason Clarke gave a decent performance that did the job, but is not exactly the most memorable one because he had almost one facial expression for the entire film. Amy Seimetz’s performance was much more memorable and expressive due to both her efforts as well as the backstory provided for her character. Jeté Laurence did a good job at being the cute daughter, but not so well when it came to the scary scenes as her face is so lovable and childish. John Lithgow’s role was small, and therefore his performance was not too profound.
The 2019 version of Pet Sematary may be worth the watch if you are either a fan of horror in general or of the first adaptation, but it is not likely to be a game changer in the horror genre.