Author, Stephen King and his family rented a house nearby by a cemetery for pets, a road with fast cars passing, his son Owen, nearly got hit by an oncoming car, his daughter Naomi, buried the family cat, Smucky after it was fatally hit by a car. As a result of his real life experience, he penned a novel titled, “Pet Sematary” using a high concept/what-if scenario based on bringing back animals from the dead using a magical burial. The novel was published in 1983. Stephen claimed this is the only book that scared him.
The film rights were sold to the late George A. Romero. At first, he was slated to direct the film, but dropped out because he was working on a film called, Monkey Shines. He was replaced by a Mary Lambert, known for directing music videos for Madonna. Thus, the film was green-lit.
Pet Sematary was released in 1989. The film earned mixed reviews from critics and movie goers alike. A sequel was released in 1992, it was critically panned and Stephen requested film producers to remove his name for the sequel. OUCH!
A remake of the film is slated for an April, 2019 release date from the production behind It: Chapter 1 and the upcoming sequel also coming out the exact same year. The remake will star Jason Clarke & John Lithgow in the lead roles.
The following review contains important SPOILERS. If you never read the book or haven’t seen the film, read at your own risk.
Positive & Negative Aspects
Positive: Dale Midkiff & Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster from The Munsters) both did a good job for their performances.
Fun Fact: Bruce Campbell was originally gonna play the lead role, but declined due to scheduled conflicts.
Stephen King wrote the script & he also made a cameo appearance as a minister.
Cinematography looked good lacking technical flaws.
Death Scenes were ok. One in particular sets the story in motion.
Practical Effects were used to create The Micmac Ground, zombified entities & Rachel’s sickly sister.
Composer, Elliot Goldenthal (Batman Forever, Frida, Heat) orchestrated the music for the film.
Louis’ nickname is “Doc.” A callback to The Shining as Danny Torrence’s nickname.
Jud talks about stories surrounding The Micmac Ground including a person who came back wrong as a zombie.
The Ramones contributed to film by writing a song named after the novel/film. Another song by the band, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” was played when a truck driver is about to head straight towards Gage.
Negative: Mary Lambert did a terrible job directing the movie. Now I understand why lacked experience as a film director.
To be honest, I didn’t get scared from start to finish. It lacked a legitimate “Scare Factor.” Whenever something’s about to go down, it unintentionally becomes funny.
Besides Louis, nobody noticed the family cat’s new pair of “golden” eyes.
An Editing error is shown after someone dies, the scene cuts to The Micmac , then the scene cuts to a funeral. Editing 101, be sure to double check every single shot and see if it all fits like a strand of DNA.
Louis’ daughter, Elle can be annoying at times. It must be really hard to take a kid actor seriously.
Louis resurrected his son Gage, without taking Jud’s warning about bringing a dead person to life, results in a blood thirsty rampage. Congratulations Doc, you just earned an award for “Worst Protagonist Of 1989!” I have no choice but to Double Down how stupid Doc’s plan to see his son again!
Before Rachel died, she witnessed her own son holding a murder weapon. She allowed Gage to hug him. Nobody passionately gives a sociopath a hug or kiss in real life.
The title is misleading, there’s no pet wrecking havoc other than a cat. The real killer of the story is a lil’ kid.
Near the end of the film, Gage’s outfit looked kinda silly to see him dressed up like W.C. Fields or Nigel West Dickens from Red Dead Redemption. Am I supposed to be intimated by a child model? It’s incredibly ridiculous!
The Third Act immediately made me feel stupid. My brain cells died.
I can’t believe I’m gonna say this over a Stephen King adaptation. I was easily bored, I checked on my phone to see how this movie is gonna end.
Only one brand spotted as Product Placement is Budweiser. I’m afraid that I’ll give this a pass.
The Final Verdict: D-
Pet Sematary is another rotten corpse close to Maximum Overdrive, The Shining mini-series, The Dark Tower among other useless junk considered as one of the worst Stephen King adaptations. Do not waste your spare time on Pet Sematary. It’ll make you feel mind numbingly dull, as in watching 24 hours of C-Span without catching a break!
The 2019 remake will be out in a few months. I’m setting my expectation levels very low like I did with It: Chapter 1. The latter turned out to be a massive hit as one of my favorite movies of 2017. Who knows if Pet Sematary 2019 might do justice. Will shall see in the future.