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Waterfront Festival

Film Review: Pet Sematary

15 April 19 words: Amber Hill-Cann

Stephen King's cult classic novel gets the big screen treatment for the second time...

Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow

Running time: 101 mins

Pet Sematary follows the Creed family as they move from Boston to the rural town of Ludlow, Maine for a change of pace. Once there, they soon get to know their new neighbour, elderly widower Jud Crandall (Lithgow). The family discover a pet cemetery on their land that has been used by local children for hundreds of years to commemorate beloved family pets. However, after the death of their own cat, more sinister discoveries are made. When Jud shows Louis (Clarke) an ancient burial ground with sinister powers, a terrifying series of events begin to unfold.

The film explores the themes of death, resurrection and grief with a pinch of folklore and exhumation thrown in for good measure. Clarke does a great job of portraying the slow descent into grief and madness experienced by Louis Creed supported by ever suffering wife Rachel (Seimetz) who relives her own disturbing memories of the death of her sister Zelda. Their young son Gage takes a back seat in this version with older sister Ellie taking centre stage, brilliantly portrayed by Jete Laurence. More familiar for fans of the novel is the ever-present undead cat Church whose sinister glare is enough to make any cat owner wonder if their own beloved family pet is all they seem.

For those looking for a film packed with jump scares then Pet Semetary will more than do the job

Fans of the 1989 film or King’s novel who are hoping to see a completely faithful remake will be disappointed as there are some key departures. However, although it is hard to avoid comparing it to the cult classic, these changes have been well justified by the two directors in various interviews. They help to create the impression that this version is not a simple remake and instead has its own character and legacy.

For those looking for a film packed with jump scares then Pet Semetarywill more than do the job. As a standalone horror, the film makes a decent attempt to bring the story (if a little unnecessarily) into the 21st Century. However, the creepy atmosphere of the original is lost in the attempt to fit the tale into just 101 minutes; it would have benefitted from being longer, allowing the audience to further engage and explore the complex themes in more depth.

Did you know? At one point during the film, we see a sign is shown that reads, "D. Torrance Realty." a reference to Danny Torrance from another of Stephen King's novel turn films: The Shining

Pet Sematary is in cinemas now

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