Stephen King is the master of the pen when it comes to contemporary horror literature - The Shining, Carrie, It and The Green Mile - to name a few of his most celebrated novels and film adaptations. When writing the intentionally misspelled Pet Semetary, King questioned whether the book was "too dark" to publish - and he wasn't scare mongering. Pet Semetary is nasty, bogged down in a world of bleak fantasy that becomes its characters' reality. Dr Louis Creed and his wife Rachel relocate their hectic lives from Boston to the suburbs of Maine. Soon after their arrival they stumble upon a mysterious burial ground where the local kids take their pets after they die, however the Creed family are quickly made aware of the pet semetary's true existence.
Stephen King's horror classic is buried by screenwriters Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler and doesn't come back the same. As the film advertised in its exhausting marketing campaign: sometimes dead is better - although the dumb slogan leaves you scratching your head, questioning when is dead ever better? But in Pet Semetary's case dead is always better. Quite possibly the worst King adaptation to be released in numerous years - Pet Semetary is horrible and extremely distasteful but never counterbalanced by being clever or commendable. I don't mean horrible in the "horror" sense - to be frank, this remake is completely and utterly empty of any genuine fear, but the writers have reworked the famous novel with new twists that cheapen King's original text. As the credits abruptly scroll upwards, I challenge you to not feel any shock or disgust by the provocative ending they decided to go with.
For one, the performances are atrocious - as are the boring characters each actor is given. Jason Clarke leads as Dr Louis Creed - he's extremely one dimensional throughout and seems pretty unconvincing as the man who is tempted by the power the pet semetary poses. Definitely the most interesting aspect of the film is Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed - haunted by a traumatic childhood with her sister, this sub plot plays quite an important role in the film and actaully works quite nicely. However young Jéte Laurence undercuts any suspenseful or potentially terrifying moments with her toe nail curling turn as daughter Ellie - she neither sells the sweet and innocent nine year old, nor the demonic corpse she comes back from the dead as. It's ironic that the scariest aspect of this cheap reboot is the child acting, and if you were wondering, John Lithgow is absolute pants as a creepy old man, with zero plot relevance.
Towards the third act, the film catostrophically caves in. There is a marvellous underlying theme about the conflict regarding life after death waiting to be exploited, but ultimately - sadly - Pet Semetary makes waste of interesting ideas and spooky set pieces for yet more naff horror beats.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.