What if your pet died but it wasn’t really gone? What if you could find a way to bring it back to life? Would you do it? No? Well what if it was your own child? What lengths would you go to to bring them back? This is the premise for prolific author Stephen King’s 1983 novel “Pet Sematary.” A fan favorite, many consider it to be one of King’s best works. When it was first adapted for the big screen in 1989, the film received mixed reviews. Now for the second time, “Pet Sematary” is being converted to film.
While the remake of the classic chiller is delightfully horrific, it still leaves a little something to be desired. So far, the film has received mixed reviews as did the original film adaptation. One thing that can be said for the remake is that it seems a bit smoother and more polished in contrast to the jarring and somewhat disjointed original film.
The Creed family, consisting of Louis, Rachel and their young children, move to Maine only to discover that their new property has an eerie burial ground for pets. The Creeds are told about the mysterious nature of the cemetery by their elderly new neighbor Jud. The family, however, decides not to heed his warnings and soon find themselves face to face with the dark and sinister essence of the old cemetery.
One thing that makes King’s stories so impactful is his three-dimensional characters and settings. The audience can easily find themselves reflected in King’s characters as well as the situations the characters find themselves in. This creates a sense of attachment and investment from the audience. When something terrible happens to these characters, the audience feels it because the characters have become a projected version of themselves in a sense.
This is one thing the remake of “Pet Sematary” gets right, however. Writer Jeff Buhler does an admirable job of drawing in the audience and maintaining the ambiance that makes a King story such a unique and special experience. It’s true that Buhler has made some changes to the original story, but he does so in a way that makes the characters seem all the more human, and that is one part of what makes the film so terrifying. It feels real and believable. It puts you in a mindset that it could happen to you.
At times, however, the script leaves questions unanswered and holes in the plot. The remake sometimes strays a bit too far from the original story as well. As a King fan or even simply someone who has read the book or seen the original film, you may be disappointed. While the remake is good cinema, it could have been better. It feels weak and halfhearted at times in regard to really bringing the story alive.
Photo Courtesy of iMDb.