“Sometimes, dead is better,” “Pet Sematary” included

2019+%22Pet+Sematary%22+movie+poster+courtesy+of+IMDb.
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“Sometimes, dead is better,” “Pet Sematary” included

2019

2019 "Pet Sematary" movie poster courtesy of IMDb.

2019 "Pet Sematary" movie poster courtesy of IMDb.

2019 "Pet Sematary" movie poster courtesy of IMDb.

Melissa Ellin, Editor in Chief

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Remakes have been taking Hollywood by storm, and nobody is immune. Not even the King of Horror, Stephen King. In 2018, we saw “It” redone, and April 5, 2019, “Pet Sematary” found its way to the big screen once again. The only difference between the two is that “It” was worth the trouble.

As far as the storyline, there was one major plot twist which I won’t reveal (although it won’t be easy), but the rest was essentially the same with only variations in chronology. The movie started from the end with a short, “Forrest Gump” style frame story opening (which you must pay attention to in order to get the full effect of the ending!) and then went into the meat of the plot. Doctor Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) relocated the family to a quiet town only to find out that a “pet sematary” is on their property. After daughter Ellie Creed’s (Jete Laurence) cat is killed, friendly neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) introduces Louis to a Native American burial ground which brings the dead back to life, and changes his life for the worse.

Truthfully, I have mixed feelings in regards to the 2019 rendition of “Pet Sematary.” The acting was stellar, and way better than that of the 1989 film. Clarke did an authentic portrayal of a heartbroken father, Amy Seitz showed a phenomenal rendition of a mother haunted by the past, and Lithgow made a believable role in Crandall, a neighbor who became too invested in helping out the family across the way. The shining star of the film was Laurence who took on a difficult and ambitious role for an 11-year-old (I can’t say more than that because you know… spoilers).

Additionally, the cinematography was inspired. The drone shot at the beginning was tactfully implemented, and scene cuts were artfully crafted. Lighting was also carried out well as the darker the mood, the darker the scene. It most definitely gave the movie a horror ambiance.

Similarly, the setting, costume design and scoring were impeccable. The animal masks were utterly creepy and the cemetery itself was eerie as all heck. I liked that there was a giant mound of wood separating the burial grounds (and the rest of the forest) from the house, which was not present in the original “Pet Sematary.” The music also helped bring a sinister vibe at just the right moments. Music is essential for suspense in horror, and this film’s was not lacking.

Nevertheless, I don’t see the point in the making (or remaking) of the movie, other than to mess with people who’d seen the original. There were many false foreshadowings for 1989 fans which led to some cool plot twists, but the changes made in 2019 actually made the film worse. If you’re the kind of  horror fan who’s in it simply for the scare, the latest movie is for you (it has boat loads of jump scares), but if you like a more psychological approach, head back to 1989.

As far as the terror aspect, 2019 had it down to a science, but the actual message sent was far less powerful than 1989. The original film was a harrowing and poignant look at a father’s love for his family and descent into madness. This one was less effective, and I felt like I was being beat in the head with all of the “for the family” lines in it. The subtler theme in the older movie was more pleasant.

Moreover, the same opening which I found cinematic beauty in has been extremely overused in 21st century films. The “That’s me, you’re probably wondering how I got here” beginning.

Overall, due to the acting and cinematography, 2019 beat 1989, but I’d much rather rewatch the old one than the new one. Still, if you’re not in it for the message and just going for the screams, you may feel differently. The remake was not horrible, and I recommend a viewing, but you should watch the original version first, and it’s not worth going to theaters.

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