Picture this: it is the spring of 1989. The Soviet Union is still intact. George H. W. Bush is president, and Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” has been adapted into a film by director Mary Lambert six years after the book was originally released. In its first weekend, the horror film grosses over twelve million dollars in box office sales. Horror fans go crazy for the pet zombie movie- who would not get excited about an alternate reality where our furry friends can come back to life?
When Church, the family’s cat, comes back to life and starts killing mice for leisure, the Creed family grows suspicious. Church was resurrected after being buried in a cemetery with some of the other town pets, a few of which have also come back to life. When the family’s two year old son is killed by a speeding car, Louis figures he can resurrect the child by burying him in the pet cemetery. What could go wrong? Fans of Stephen King’s work know exactly how the horror goes.
Last week, a thirtieth anniversary adaptation of the original film hit theaters, and the general consensus is not so great. Many critics write off the new adaptation as “unnecessary,” and even just downright a waste of time. However, there are some aspects of the new film that make it undeniably a turning point in modern horror.
While the movie starts off the same, with the Creed family moving to rural Maine, the role of wife and mother Rachel’s scary sister Zelda is a lot more prominent in the 2019 film. The use of modern technology and well strategized scares make Zelda even more horrifying than before. Watching the traumatizing interactions between Rachel and the decrepit Zelda in the flashbacks is nothing short of bone-chilling.
The directors of the new “Pet Sematary,” Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, do an impeccable job of using modern set design to make the movie incredibly eerie. The creative shots in the film also add nuance to the jump-scare horror genre. One thing that is surprising is the lack of CGI scares and classical jump scares in the film. For example, there is the scene where the horizon of trees is dramatically closer when the family opens the door. While unexpected, the use of set change as a jump scare is a brand new door that Kölsch and Widmyer have opened for a new kind of scares that are truly startling.
Although some critics have stated that the path that Kölsch and Widmyer took with the plot was not as good as it could have been, the nuances in the chilling new “Pet Sematary” make it a worthwhile watch for viewers looking for a familiar plot, but also realistically scary. For horror fanatics, the renewed “Pet Sematary” is an awesome homage to Stephen King and to the many great horror films of past generations.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment