Stephen King is the most adapted author currently alive, and right now we’re in the middle of a King adaptation renaissance, what with IT being a smash hit, Hulu’s Castle Rock drawing heavily from his works, and a dozen new shows and movies based on his works coming out in the last three or so years, with no signs of stopping. Now, we’re getting a look at the latest addition to this new wave of King, a remake of the classic Pet Sematary.
Starring Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, and Amy Seimetz, the film follows the Creed family, who have just moved into a new home in rural Maine. However, it is not the happiest of turns for the family as soon after they arrive tragedy strikes, and the father Louis Creed turns to Jud Crandall, his old and widened neighbor, for help. It is then that Louis unleashes the power of a dark and poisoned burial ground that brings anything, or anyone, that has died back to life with dire, deadly consequences.
Directed by relative newcomers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, this version of the film looks a lot more menacing in terms of how it presents the woods and the burial ground, i.e. the titular Pet Sematary. It also has more thriller elements, with shots of mysterious bloody marks, symbols carved into the trees, and characters staring through windows ominously. Basically, it comes off like its playing all the cliches of the modern horror era to make you think it’s this thrilling, action-packed fright-fest. You can tell right away this is going to be a different creature than the beloved 1989 film.
I have some reservations about Jason Clarke as Louis Creed, as he looks a little too grizzled to be the young, bright eyed doctor about to be humbled by the destruction caused by his hubris. Frankly, Clarke looks like an action-thriller star, and I’m not sure how it’s going to play off screen. Additionally, no one was going to be able to top the great Fred Gwynne’s performance as Jud Crandall, but intellectual John Lithgow somehow seems of a fit for the role.
Still, credit where credit is due, a good remake has to breathe new life into a work, and hopefully this film does just that for this horror classic. Otherwise, we’ll just have to rebury it and try it again…
Pet Sematary is set premiere in theaters on April 5, 2019.
Want to relive the horrifying magic of the original 1989 film? Listen to the Cine-Analyst episode on Pet Sematary!