“Pet Semetary” is one of Stephen King’s most lauded horror novels published in 1983. There was a film adaptation released in 1989. And then there is this second adaptation released in 2019. This thing apparently needed two directors in the form of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. Jeff Buhler wrote the screenplay, which was from a story by Matt Greenburg. One would think with so many people involved, it would have made a more impressive impact on me. Jason Clarke, Amy Seimitz, and John Lithgow are some of the more significant cast members in this one.
Anyway, a big city doctor moves his family to a small town in Maine. He learns of this pet cemetery in the woods behind his new house. Even further beyond that is where those that are buried there don’t stay back and come back with a more demonic and murderous agenda. It’s one thing when a pet returns with a more aggressive attitude, however the grief over a dead child can cause even further compelling temptations leading to blood-soaked outcome.
The girl at the center of this actually does put forth a fairly creepy performance. Yes, this time it’s the daughter. If this Jete Laurence carries her acting career into adulthood, I am sure she could have solid career provided that she can pick her projects with some wise counsel. The performances are not necessarily bad. Clarke has been around a while, and he does fine. Lithgow is great as always. The actual acting from everyone is pretty good.
There were plenty of familiar elements that I can recall from the novel and previous onscreen iteration that made it into this one. I thought the relationship between Clarke’s and Lithgow’s characters was somewhat rushed. In the book, they developed a pretty solid if new friendship before Jud Crandall introduced the good doctor to the more profound secrets of the cemetery. In this version, I had some trouble buying into their bond developing so quickly.
I was left with a sense that this latest adaptation was pointless. Maybe the horror genre as a whole is pointless, but there are some gems in the pile of nightmarish coal as far as quality of writing and fun scares.
What it comes down to is that this is not exactly a terrible film, but it does drive home the thought that the book is still better by a long shot.