Pet Sematary – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Pet Sematary – The Meow of Fear

Horror is one of the hardest genres to tackle on the big screen.  The idea of creating an experience of fear can be cumbersome for the director.  No matter how it comes to be, horror can only be good if it knows what it is from the start.  This remake of a Stephen King Novel provides a starting point of great potential, but it never completes its task.  Even with the meddling of predictable tropes, Pet Sematary will strike you with enough tension to provide something of fear on the big screen.

The film follows Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his family as they relocate from Boston to rural Maine.  In their new home, Creed and family find a pet cemetery on their property.  As strange things begin to happen, they come to find out there is something more sinister lurking beyond.  The film provides a quick introduction to the Creed family, their home and the cemetery.  From here, the story becomes a mixture of ominous foreshadowing with a compliment of exposition.  That comes in the form of their neighbor, Jud (John Lithgow).  With Jud’s interactions with Louis and others, revelations start to unravel the family’s sanity.  From Louis’s odd visions to the Rachel’s (Amy Selmetz) haunted memory sequences, this delves deep into a character dynamic that present an ominous future for the Creeds.  Combine this with a ‘murky’ score helps build up an atmospheric tone.  While the use of this technique is not completely original, it does allow the audience to engross in the mystery behind the creation of the cemetery.  As tension rises, the foreshadowed elements come to the forefront and the Creeds’ lives are turned upside down. 

As death comes unexpectedly, the story falls into the common tropes used to incite fear in any horror film.  From the creaking noises, empty rooms, jump scares to the moving of inanimate objects, it turns everything that was tragic into comical scenarios.  The cheesiness of character reactions and ‘over-the-top’ death sequences overshadow the horrific consequences in the third act and climax.  Once in the epilogue, the tension is killed by the forced dread, leaving any weight of ambiguity to feel like lazy writing.  Pet Sematary is a horror remake that starts with potential, but just becomes another throwaway horror film.  I would say check this out if you’re a fan of the novels, otherwise it is only worth seeing at the theaters at a discount rate.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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