For those of us who are fans of American literary and horror icon, Stephen King, this weekend gives us the next remake of a classic horror film. First, we got IT, which terrified a whole new audience as well as those who fondly remembered the original. Arguably the most successful horror film of all time, Pennywise lived to scare again, so much so that a sequel is already on its way. Now, we’ve got another remake, and almost 30 years to the day. The creepy resurrection classic, Pet Sematary, gets a whole new lease on life.
As a fan of both the novel and original film, I was excited for the remake, especially after King’s own high praise. However, it had been over 20 years since I had actually visited the subject, so I had to reacquaint myself. Having done just that, I headed into this film with an open mind and high hopes. Jason Clarke and John Lithgow do a good job leading the cast back to the woods of Maine.
The tension begins immediately and continues throughout the film, including a few expected, yet still effective, jump scares. There are some minor changes from the original, including changing their home town from Chicago to Boston, but there are two big changes that fans of the original will notice for sure. In fact, there’s a pretty big tease before one of these twists that’ll put you on the edge of your seat.
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t quite hold up to the original. With tension so high so soon, it seems to wind down as the film goes on, leading to some laughable moments at a time when laughs shouldn’t be coming in at all. It’s not a bad film, and if you’ve never seen the original, it will probably play better to you. But the film’s short runtime of just over 90 minutes is noticed with a bit of a rushed feel. This film deserves at least another 20 minutes of development, as well as answering some random experiences.
The characters’ arcs are hit the worst by the lack of time. What should be a slow slip into mania happens in a flash, with decisions being made almost before the events happen, it seems. Also, (without going into spoilers), Rachel’s (the mother, played by Amy Seimetz) arc comes out of nowhere, dominates quite a bit of time, and yet is really for nothing. In fact, you could do a whole spinoff horror movie just on what she’s got going on in her head, if you really wanted.
Overall, I would give this movie a C+ for die-hard King fans, and a B- for newbies to the franchise. Any fan of horror certainly shouldn’t pass on this one, but just keep your expectations slightly lower than normal.
What did you think of the new Pet Sematary? Be sure to tell us all of your thoughts on the Stephen King movie in the comments!