It is one of the great horror classics written by Stephen King, now comes the new edition PET SEMATARY to the cinemas. Can we expect a remake as successful as the one for “It”? We reveal this and more in our review of the film.
The Plot Summary
Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two children Gage and Ellie (Hugo Lavoie and Jeté Laurence) escape the big city for a quiet life in the country. Very close to their new home and surrounded by dense forest is the eerie “Graveyard of Cuddly Toys”. After a tragic incident, Louis asks his odd neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) for help and inadvertently triggers a dangerous chain reaction that unleashes something profoundly evil and threatens the newly acquired family idyll. The Creeds quickly realize that sometimes death is better…
Pet Sematary Movie explanation of the ending
With a budget of just 35 million US dollars, the new edition of the horror classic “It” grossed over 300 million in the USA alone. Even in a rather horror-weary country like United Kingdom, Pennywise the clown climbed the podium on the opening weekend and stayed there for so long that it was ultimately enough to become the seventh most successful film of 2017 – in the USA too, by the way. This year, “It – Chapter II”, the second part of the filmed, over 1,500-page novel, will be released in cinemas and fans can hardly wait for the release of the first trailer, which is expected to appear at Comic Con. As a reminder: The first film preview for “It – Chapter I” was the most successful of all time at the time. Already during the development phase of “It” it became known that many more King film adaptations would be completely renovated in the coming years, of which “Pet Sematary” is now the first. The 1989 horror classic is to date the fourth highest-grossing film based on a King novel (behind “It,” “The Green Mile,” and “Shining”). These statistics could really shake up the “Pet Sematary” remake, because the makers are taking a similar approach with their film as they did with “It” and are creating a film that does justice to the original and still sets its own impulses. However, their downfall is that the new impulses dilute rather than enrich their film and allow them to overturn some of the decisive advantages of the original. Nevertheless, their “Cemetery of Cuddly Toys” is clearly up to date and therefore of particular interest to those who are not familiar with the original.
Rachel (Amy Seimetz), little Gage (Hugo Lavoie), father Louis (Jason Clarke) and Ellie (Jeté Laurence).
Like the title of the original, the title of the remake is also intentionally misspelled: “Pet Sematary” (instead of “Cemetery”) is emblazoned in large black letters at the entrance to the infamous cuddly toy cemetery – the children called it that, explains the good-natured neighbor Jud to the little one Ellie. It is one of several moments taken directly from the eighties film in which the homage to the original shines through. The directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (who made “Starry Eyes” together) approach the material with visible respect and strive to show it. The setting, the atmosphere, the treatment of the characters – at the beginning, none of it succumbs to the contemporary urge for “faster, higher, further”. Instead, screenwriter Jeff Buhler takes over (“Midnight Meat Train”) the most important cornerstones of the original: Rachel’s visions of her dead sister as well as the accident patient Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed), who tries to warn his lifesaver and who desperately wants to stop Louis from later burying the cat and child in the stuffed animal cemetery. Neighbor Jud’s family background is at least briefly explained here, while the difficult relationship between Louis and his in-laws hardly plays a role here. This had little influence on the story in the original film anyway.
Since the original lasted around 15 minutes longer at 105, the “Pet Sematary” from 2019 must be different from the original in some way – and those responsible actually go at a much faster pace in the initial phase than their colleague Mary Lambert. That’s good for the film. The moments of family interaction shown here are meaningful enough to build up a similarly high emotional level in significantly less time when the all-important accident finally occurs after almost 60 minutes. It was already known in advance that the new edition would clearly deviate from the original at this point: instead of the small fee, this time it is the daughter who falls victim to the truck. On the one hand, that makes sense, after all, you can do a lot more with a revenge-thirsty zombie girl Ellie’s age than with a toddler like Gage. At the same time, it was just terrifying to see such a small child (or, in a few scenes, a child’s doll) with a knife, stabbing his mother in a rage of blood. Although the make-up department did an excellent job on both the resurrected Ellie and the accident victim Victor, the young girl here is far less scary than her male counterpart from ’89 and instead becomes an interchangeable horror child which there have been quite a few in genre cinema recently. After all, fans of the bloodthirsty cat Church will get their money’s worth more with the remake than with the original. Not only because the shaggy beast looks damn real here, even in zombie mode, but also because there are a lot more scenes here in which the tomcat steals the show.
Jud (John Lithgow) shows his neighbor the stuffed animal cemetery.
Where the original was still 18+ and then stayed on the index for quite a while, the remake now presents itself with a comparable level of violence without having to fear similar consequences. Viewing habits have changed and so in “Cemetery of Cuddly Toys 2019” Ellie can cut her neighbor’s Achilles tendon in close-up without ending up directly on the index. This particularly painful scene, also taken from the original, is preceded by a nice play with the viewer’s expectations. Several times, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer suggest repeating a familiar scene one-to-one, only to change it shortly afterwards and fool the audience with the help of their foreboding. This is charming and smart at the same time – something that cannot be said about the modification of some other well-known film motifs. Rachel’s dead sister Zelda (Alyssa Brooke Levine) in particular is still at least as frightening, but at the same time the makers primarily use her for classic jump scares. The film as a whole has remarkably little of them, but this reduction to the mere shock effect doesn’t do justice to the character’s actually serious background. The same applies to the accident victim Victor; In the original, she was a person who was lovingly concerned about the well-being of her savior, but here she can only be seen in very few, often surprisingly lurid, scenes from which the good spirit’s existence is not really clear. In the end it’s all about the horror and less about the characters.
Conclusion: “Pet Sematary” from 2019 is a solid remake of the eighties horror classic, which is particularly convincing in the first half, but fades a little towards the end, when the makers are more interested in the quick shock than the eerie atmosphere consistently maintained.
“Pet Sematary” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from April 4th.