Director Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Cast Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Lucas Lavoie
Release Date April 5th, 2019
From directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Holidays), Pet Sematary is a re-imagining of the 1989 Stephen King classic horror film based on King’s novel about a family that moves to Maine and discovers a Pet Sematary out behind their house built on Indian Burial Grounds. The original film scared the crap out of me as a kid, so naturally I consider it to be a fond memory during my childhood. Full disclosure, I remember being home alone and imagining that I would turn the corner and one of my pet cats that had been hit by a car and killed would be standing there covered in dirt - needless to say my parents were used to coming home with every single light in the house on.
Anticipation was high as I arrived at the theater and stocked up on popcorn and Haribo gummy bears, and as the lights dimmed and the movie finally started it did NOT disappoint. The first thing I will say is that the writers made a few significant changes to the film compared to its counterpart, but that’s not a bad thing. I won’t say much about the changes to avoid spoilers even though one of the changes is revealed in the final trailer, but I will say that after seeing the movie and doing a little research as far as why the changes were made I am on board. The biggest thing that they were able to accomplish with this film as a tribute to it’s predecessor is the ominous feel it maintains throughout - this is a horror movie through and through so you won’t be laughing during this one.
The feeling of unease is heavy throughout, and the cast consisting of veteran actor Jason Clarke in the lead role as Dr. Louis Creed fit perfectly. Fans of the original seem split on John Lithgow taking on the pivotal role of Jud, mostly due to the high bar set by the late Fred Gwynne - but rest assured Lithgow is able to hold his own. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the relationship development between Louis and Jud, but with a runtime of just over an hour and a half it makes sense that you need to have a balance. Overall, even as a remake/re-imagining this is an entry in the horror genre that sits well above the majority of horror releases of late.
The 2019 version of Pet Sematary left this longtime fan satisfied and has me wanting to see it at least one more time to really take in all of the finer wrinkles of the film. Horror fans can feel good about snagging a ticket for this one so be sure to see it in theaters!