7/21/2019

Pet Sematary (2019) (Review)

Title: Pet Sematary
Directors:  Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Writer: Matt Greenberg (based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King)
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie
Min: 101
Year: 2019

Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), a doctor, and his family (wife Rachel, youngest son Gage, daughter Ellie, and her cat Church) move to Ludlow, Maine. They soon see a procession of masked kids taking a dead pet to the "Pet Sematary". They also meet their nice, old neighbor Jud Candrell (John Lithgow) who warns them that the woods are dangerous. The next day, Louis is left haunted by the death of a young man named Victor Pascow (Obessa Ahmed).

Oh Halloween, Jud shows Louis that Church is now roadkill having been hit by a truck. That night they bury it beyond the pet cemetery, which results, a little bit after, in Church coming back to life much to Louis' surprise. Jud lets him know that he did that cause he felt heartbroken for Ellie's (Jeté Laurence) loss. Even though those that comes back are turned bad, clearly evident by Church's nasty and aggressive, new behavior. But, when Ellie gets creamed by a truck, Louis buries her in that evil ground, despite the warnings by Jud. Soon she comes back, too, and to say she is no longer a nice, little girl would be a fucking understatement.
As you can tell, this adaption of one of Stephen King's best and darkest novels covers a lot of the same territory that Mary Lambart's 1989 movie already did. Save for the twist of having Ellie get hit instead of Gage. Now, I would say that this is an important twist, but the morons who cut the trailer decided to let you know this in advance. Making this be no longer a spoiler, that I care to acknowledge as one. It completes robs the movie of that moment of shock to anyone in the audience. But, this is just one of many problems that the film faces.

The aforementioned 1989 version is a good, albeit flawed movie, but after seeing this one I think much more highly of it. The parts of the film that cover the same territory are such a beat by beat rehash (with only the slightest of changes), that it feels boring and pointless this time around. In fact, I cared so little for this segment of the movie, that it took me three viewings of the screener to get through the film. Well, there is one upgrade that is made: Jason Clarke is a huge improvement over Dale Midkiff who was flat as fuck in the '89 version.
Now, after the whole Ellie gets smashed by a truck thing, the movie does become interesting. Suddenly, it takes a wild change and manages to catch my interest. The directing here by Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer is suspenseful and involving. The film suddenly feels fresh, and I actually began to give a fuck about what was happening.

And, then the ending comes... Whatever good had been accomplished by the movie is quickly thrown out the fucking window. It takes a turn for the rather cheap and dumb as fucking hell. This part didn't shock me, cause I kind of figured out where it was going. And, the fact that it did got that silly route, made me roll my eyes at this crap.
To its advantage, the acting from the cast is really good. I already discussed how much better at being Louis, Clarke is, but I think it is little Jeté Laurence who really steals the show. She is amazing in her role and makes for a great villain. John Lithgow is quite good and likable as Jud, though my heart will always prefer Fred Gwyne from the earlier version.

There is some violence, but ultimately it's Jud's death that is the best kill in the movie. And, the movie certainly looks nice. In its closing credits, it has a cover of the classic title track from the Ramones done here by Starcrasher. It's an OK version, but at that level is still better than this actual film.
The 2019 take on Pet Sematary is a really fucking pointless waste of your time. The acting is excellent though, especially from little Laurence. And, sure the last third of the movie takes some exciting risks, even if it is somewhat hampered by the twist being revealed in the trailer. But, even if that wasn't the case, what really undoes any of the good is the stupid as fucking hell ending. This flick will make you really appreciate that '89 version a whole lot more. As a matter of fact, just watch that again and let this shit get buried and rot away, cause sometimes not being made is better.


1.5 out of 4

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