Pet Sematary Movie Review and discussion
By Justin Hopkins:
The struggle was real, going into this movie. Remakes have an uphill challenge as it is, with people who love to complain about the reasoning behind making a remake to a beloved movie as the first one was. Normally, a successful remake keeps the spirit and tone of the first and change just enough to keep an audience guessing what is about to happen. unfortunately, whoever made the trailers and TV Spots, didn’t care about that second part and not only ruined the twist, but beat you over the head with it. Leaving just the spirit and tone, were the able to duplicate the magic of the first? Lets find out shall we.
The movie opens very similar to the first one, with the family looking to escape to a quieter life out on the farm and away from the city. Enjoyed the little changes they made to the story, by adding the kid’s funeral procession for a lost pet. Show that Pet Sematary has not been forgotten. At the same time though, they didn’t spend time building a friendship between him Louis and Jud. Which was vital to the story. Just felt like neighbors and they were together by force half the time. You’ll find that this is a problem going throughout the movie. That don’t invest enough time to one thing or the other. Just slow-paced itself through the first two acts, on multiple angles and flew through the third act at such a hectic pace and hoped you caught on to the Wendigo angle. Which was quite creative, but not clear enough, because the Mom did not just fall asleep, but was being screwed with by the Wendigo. Needed to be explored more than just a passing footnote, because if you didn’t understand Jud’s mumbled explanation, then it was missed and the repeated dream sequences are going to come off as dumb.
My favorite part of this was easily Jete Laurence’s performance as Ellie. Most of this movie really weighed on her shoulders, being the bridge between them and Jud, her relationship with Church, and just making you care about her character so that when she was hit by the truck, you felt bad for her, and when she came back from the grave, really gave a haunting performance. Being a little older than Gage, they were able to play with her vocabulary and her strengths. Knowing full well what had happened and what she was. Aware of the power she had and ran with it. Whether it was the bedroom scene where she was laying next to Lewis and he had that look on his face where he knew he messed up and she was just calling him out on everything he had done or scene where she was stabbing her Mother and saying how much of a failure she was and that she was nothing more than that and would be going to hell very shortly went way to fast and wished their was more to it. A lot of props to Jete Laurence for making the best of it.
Amy Seimetz was tremendous as her role of Rachel. The Zelda character was grossly under utilized for sure, but felt her fear in the third act. How terrified she was of the dead coming back for her, and then seeing Ellie return from the grave sent her into a spiral and the terror on her face that it might happen to herself. Like I said before, her death scene was haunting. Again, they needed to give her more time to shine, because they could have had a classic moment if given the chance.
I did enjoy Jason Clarke’s portal of Louis here. He didn’t quite live up to the bar set by Dale Midkiff, but worked well for me. Didn’t have the broken down by grief emotion, but was fueled and determined his grief and sorrow. He had no reservations and was just a man on a mission. It was serviceable for what it needed to be, but needed to be more than just serviceable.
Outside of that, this movie has so much flaws. Between miss handling of the Zelda character, to piss poor time management and moments that happen that make you wonder if something important was edited out. No to mention the twist of Ellie being the one to be killed instead of Gage, especially since the way it was shot, looked like it very well was going to be Gage. Even used Church as the way to get her out into the road. Building the guilt Louis had over bringing Church back and not putting the Cat had when he had the chance. All of which was ruined a head of time and lost the emotional weight behind it all. The ending tried to be a little more than it needed to be. Where Gage was the last one alive, and the reanimated bodies of his family coming after him, and felt it could have been better.
I will say, this movie is something you have to see for yourself, but I wouldn’t suggest running out to theaters. Check it out on Netflix or Red box, before deciding it is worth buying. It will end up in my collection despite it not nearly as good as the original, but was a fun movie, with tension and a great performance from a very creepy girl, and if you weren’t a fan of or seen the first one, you’ll enjoy this one.
Thank you for reading