Pet Sematary is Legitimately, Unrelentingly Terrifying (Review)

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God I love Stephen King.  I’ve been looking forward to Pet Sematary since I saw the trailer.  I’ve never read the book but I saw the 1989 movie, which would be handy for comparison if I could remember anything about it. Sadly, that was 25+ years ago so all I remember was it scared the piss out of me. That was enough though – I had high hopes for this 2019 remake.

Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.

First off I have to say, Pet Sematary was terrifying – legitimately, unrelentingly terrifying.  It knew what it was doing, it started off slow but was tightening the screw from minute one. There were very very few jump scares and the ones that happened, you knew they were coming.  This was one of those situations where knowing it was coming made it worse. Pet Sematary was 1 hour and 41 minutes, which was the perfect length. It felt longer, though actually I mean that in a very good way.  By the time this film was over, I was exhausted.

The acting was so good.  Everyone was great. Jason Clark was absolutely believable as a dad who’s just doing his best.  John Lithgow, too. I’ve always been such a Lithgow fan, though what a grim role. But far and away, the star of the show was Jete Laurence.  Holy cow, she was amazing; she was adorable when she needed to be, horrifically creepy when she needed to be and full on psycho scary too. What a range.  I’m sure the dialogue and make-up helped but still, she filled that role so well. And that cat….. Whoever said that you shouldn’t work with kids or animals needs to talk to Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the film’s directors.

So is the new Pet Sematary worth watching?  That depends. If you’re a parent, I would advise against it.  There would be some scenes that are definitely hard to watch. And the ending was a bit weird – after that, I can’t see them making Pet Sematary II.  But aside from that, then yes, it’s a fine example of a horror film and definitely the scariest movie I’ve seen in awhile.

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