Pet Sematary (2019)

Out Now On-Demand

Sometimes dead is better.

Jason Clarke and John Lithgow star in this remake of the '80s supernatural horror classic, based on the novel by Stephen King.

After Louis Creed (Clarke) moves his family out to the country, he discovers that they are now have a couple of unexpected things in their back yard. The pet cemetary isn't the worst of it, further into the woods is a remote hilltop. As Creed will find out, anything buried there will soon be resurrected in demonic form.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Horror

101mins

Rating: R16 Horror, graphic violence & offensive language

USA

A simple horror movie that knows its role and doesn't try to be all clever, Pet Sematary comfortably delivers the goods with intense jump-scares, ghastly gore and loads of awesome creepiness. The heavy themes about grief and our fear of death may be difficult to take seriously given the silly supernatural stuff, but the tone strikes a marvellous balance that helps make this resurrection of a classic bloody well worth it.

A lot of the credit goes to the core cast of Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow, each of whom are fantastic, along with newcomer Jeté Laurence who is absolutely firing on all cylinders. Oh and then there's that creepy goddamn cat, which is just as great as the promotional material promised it'd be. The performances really do elevate everything else and keep the tone right, so it doesn't all devolve into a schlocky mess even as sh-t gets crazy and the bodies start to pile up.

Fans of the original film will enjoy a nostalgic familiarity as the remake hits the same major narrative beats, but they'll enjoy the ways many have been nicely subverted even more. Then there's the ending, which is very different, surprisingly twisted and vastly improved. Indeed, this is one of those rare remakes that's better than the original—even if that wasn't going to be too difficult, given the many crappy elements of the 1989 film, and especially given the talented cast of the 2019 one. But that recipe doesn't always work—just watch the 2013 remake of Carrie if you want to understand what a forgettable flop this Pet Sematary could've been.

It doesn't bring anything new to the genre, but it doesn't need to. It's a brilliant example of functional horror filmmaking and a glorious affirmation of what a contemporary Stephen King adaptation should be like.

Collider

press

Pet Sematary isn't striving to be an easy communal crowdpleaser. Just like the source material, it's a movie with a real thoughtful mean streak that'll chill you to the bone, and ensure you remain on edge well after it concludes.

Hollywood Reporter

press

A solid if not earthshaking horror pic built around notably good performances.

The Guardian

press

[A] brutally effective and convulsively disturbing story...

Variety (USA)

press

Plenty efficient for those simply looking to be scared...

FilmInk (Australia)

press

...introduces some surprises but ultimately feels like a series of effective scenes in search of an overarching theme.

Screen International

press

Just another run-of-the-mill horror remake.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

Although this 2019 remake is a pretty decent stab at a contemporary horror, it just doesn't do enough to justify its own existence.

NZ Herald (Tom Augustine)

press

Pet Sematary is 2019's most disappointing missed opportunity so far.

Full of jumpscares, but also full of tension with some reasonable twists thrown in

I am in two minds about this film. On the one hand, despite only having a short 101-minute runtime, it felt much longer because I was in a constantly building state of suspense and tension from start to finish. On the other hand, most of this reaction came down to repeated use of the same jump scare technique.

Pet Sematary comes 30 years after the release of the original film adaptation in 1989, and to be perfectly honest, very little has changed. A new set of actors are in play, and there are a few little changes in the sequence of events (or who does them), but overall, the film follows the exact same strokes as both the previous film and book. The alterations in the story are quite welcome, as the story would have otherwise struggled with 100% predictability. But the writers have changed enough to keep you on your toes, throwing a twist right when you think you know what will happen.

30 years later, and the production values have definitely improved, with some gorgeous environments during the day. I specify during the day because the night scenes are decidedly less convincing. Bathed in blue with smoke and excessive fog, everything looks like it was shot in the studio. Combine that with flickering lights, lightning, and unexplained noises, Pet Sematary is a treasure trove of horror clichés.

There is a rather major change in the plot (which is spoiled in the trailer) and is one of the two decisions that make this film stand out from its predecessor. It allows a greater connection with the family, a slightly deeper conversation about death and mortality, and provides a more significant threat later on.

The acting performances were all pretty damn good as well. Jeté Laurence does an amazing job, originally adorable and lovable before transitioning to something rather unsettling. Jason Clarke goes for a more understated direction, which does prevent the film from getting too hammy, and Amy Seimetz is the most believable performance of the lot, even though her character has a very minimal part to play and no character development.

This 2019 remake of Pet Sematary is nothing exceptional. It follows the same broad strokes of the previous film and source material. It uses foreshadowing extensively alongside a distressed score to bring about cheap jump scares for the sake of tension. But it still entertains. There are certain scenes and actions that are so out of character that they are laughable (literally, people in the audience were chuckling out loud on several occasions), but in general, the film does what it sets out to do; it keeps the viewer engaged, and keeps that heart pumping throughout the film.

From a film studies or critical standpoint, Pet Sematary will have you disappointed by its lack of originality and bland storytelling. But for a general viewer, there is much enjoyment to be had, many scares to laugh about and a cat that has the complete opposite personality to Captain Marvel's Goose.

And of course, Church the cat looks evil as f***.

Barny

Barny

user


Aww Really?

I went into the theatre real excited: One of my favourite Stephen King books after all. Stylistically perfect in parts - the journey at night to Little God Swamp was visually awesome. I didn't like much else. I prefer the 1989 adaption.

sarahj

sarahj

user


So exciting to watch

Pet Sematary was such a good movie! It was the perfect jump scare, humorous thriller movie. I loved the execution of it and how it always kept you guessing and wondering what would happen next. Although I can't really remember the original movie and never read the book its definitely a movie anybody could watch. Honestly loved this movie and would recommend it to anybody that loves movies with evil cats too.


Pet Love Story

It's a great remake, new, qwerty and peppered with dark humour. I loved it and was visually tied to my seat throughout, thanks to the wonderful acting of that guy we know in Third Rock from the Sun, and a hunting little girl who reminds me of the twin in the Shinning, the Exorcist or maybe The Ring... Totally worth a watch :-)


Tension and release, tension and release...

I for one was relieved when the third act descended into madness. The tension was almost unbearable in parts, so when it got silly I was grateful and enjoyed the ride.


Remember to breath!

Pet Semetary had me holding my breath from the get-go. The jump scares are cleverly mixed up to keep you on your toes and add to the building tension of the movie.

A great underlying theme and story keeps the movie interesting. And a genuine connection to the characters helps to bring your emotions out.

I thouroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend to all those horror/ thriller enthusiasts!


Ellie < Original Gage

I'm sorry to say that Ellie is less creepy than the original Gage. In saying that, I understand the reason behind the change. The grief is indeed more palpable as Ellie was developed better. It's this grief and loss that I didn't find too convincing here, specially if compared to something like El Orfanato. The scares are average at best as well.


Embraced new changes but still mediocre at best

Pet Sematary is a remake of the 1989 movie based on a novel by Stephen King.

This movie stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow also featuring Jeté Laurence. It's directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.

With the new influx of remakes and reboots, Pet Sematary is the latest to join the fray. Much like IT (2017), Pet Sematary delivers some heart-pounding jump scares within unsettling environments. Their major changes worked within the movie's favor with Ellie dying from a truck crash instead of Gage and becoming a murderous zombie. It delivers some funny situations whether unintentional or not but it works as it's still unsettling and definitely creepy.

Unfortunately the movie lags tremendously in the first and second acts and though they still have some creepy visuals it makes you wish the movie would just get on to the good parts.

Overall this adaptation is on point with the novel yet still manages to bring something different to the story. However the lagging first and second acts and with some repeated sequences it drags it down to something that's mediocre.


It's entertainment...

..a horror that doesn't rewrite the rules but still gives you scares along the way still exist and Pet Sematary is one of them. The scare jumps come sometimes from unexpected areas which makes the supposed scary scenes a bit predictable. But don't want more from a B-grade horror.


A few scares but the original still shines

The build up in the beginning was good but loses the plot and slides into the modern day zombie flick.