Review by Dany Swim
Since 2016, when Hollywood isn’t busy making 300 million dollar budgeted super-hero blockbusters, in attempts to launch another cinematic universe, then it’s probably banking on your nostalgia for your childhood dreams or in this case; Fears. Halloween (2018) is a recent example of a film trying to replicate a flavor that hasn’t been in stock since the early 80’s, it didn’t go beyond that, but it had fans wanting more the moment the opening credits showed a rotten pumpkin reverting to its prime. And if that ain’t a literal metaphor for Hollywood bringing back some classic horror films, then I probably really deserved that C on my creative writing class. Today I just witnessed another attempt at the rebirth/remake/reboot in the genre, the Stephen King classic Pet Sematary.
If you somehow miraculously managed to avoid all marketing for this film and you have no idea what King’s twisted magnum opus entails, along with its 1989 adaptation, then lucky for you; there is no expectation this film has to overcome for your viewing experience. You can take as it is, a solid film about a family man unfortunately faced with a dark immoral decision aided by super natural forces beyond his understanding of life and death. HOWEVER, if you are familiar with this story (like me) then you’ll notice this adaptation takes cues from the novel and it’s original film, and in someways it sets it apart, but in a lot of ways, it manages to.. well.. be essentially the same film.
And well like “Duh” thats the point when you do an adaptation right? Well there’s no denying that it takes a bit of luck and talent to find the unique blend of being close enough to the source material, and at the same time placing an original spin on your version of the story. After all Pet Sematary, is helmed by two extremely talented indie horror directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, known for their surreal story telling, (looking at you Starry Eyes, you under-rated neglected soul) but they weren’t as lucky on landing a landmark-worthy script. And yes, there is a twist or two but it ultimately doesn’t detour from whats been shown before. (which by the way, a MAJOR one is spoiled in the marketing)
Not that it means what I witnessed was a terrible film, or a largely uninspired film one at that, but rather unlike 2017’s surprise hit It, it doesn’t really doesn’t set itself apart from its 1989 counterpart. Yeah the effects are better, the lines are less cheesy and the plot holes that were present in 1989 are explained in 2019. But its remake has rather odd pacing and it lacks a certain charm that was present in the 1989 version. There are a ton of ways this film could’ve taken different turn and run with it, because it did after all try to shake things up, even if it doesn’t change the status quo. I guess in the end, this film is going to either please fans of the genre, or alienate those who follow Kings work. Or vice-versa, who knows? You can’t please everyone, but in this Maine tourist’s eyes, it earns a solid 3/5 Final verdict: ★★★☆☆ “sometimes dead might be better?.. I dunno”
Special thanks to True Horror for allowing me to rave/rant on his corner of the internet.