Pet Sematary Reviews
Unlike many of the truly awful adaptations that I've already mentioned, Pet Sematary, does not solely rely on King's story to scare the audience. As an author, King creates an atmosphere that allows for the horrors of his novels to occur. Thankfully, all of the filmmakers involved in this production bring that same spooky atmosphere to the screen. Accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful score by Elliot Goldenthal, director Mary Lambert opens the film with sweeping shots of the creepy Pet Sematary. As images of the graveyard flash across the screen the audience is immediately filled with dread. There's nothing inherently terrifying about what we see. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Still, for some reason, the audience immediately knows that something about this place is not right. It is this opening credit sequence that creates the atmosphere and sets the stage for the horrors to come.
The Creed family, mom, dad, daughter and baby boy, have relocated from the city to a rural home in Maine. A busy and dangerous road separates the Creed's home from their neighbor Jud's property. A path on their property leads to a cemetery that is labeled "Pet Sematary". Jud explains that this is where the local children have buried their deceased pets, most of which died on the busy road. When the Creed's family's cat is inevitably killed on the road, Jud takes the dad, Louis, to a secret location beyond the confines of the Pet Sematary. They arrive to an old Indian burial ground where they bury the deceased cat. The burial ground has the power to bring the dead animal back to life, but it does not return as its original self. Rather, the cat stinks of death and has lost its sweet demeanor.
Louis works as a doctor where he encounters a man who was involved in a severe car accident. Despite his best efforts, Louis is unable to revive the crash victim. But before the man dies, he warns Louis to stay away from the Pet Sematary. Later, Louis sees the victim in a dream where he is again warned of the dangers of the Sematary. When tragedy strikes the Creed family, Louis is willing to do anything to get his old life that, even if it means ignoring the warnings of the crash victim. Desperate to recover a lost life, Louis returns to the burial grounds and unleashes a horror that threatens to destroy his family and all those who come in contact with them.
Atmosphere aside, Pet Semetary offers many terrifying twists and turns that excite and thrill. It is a movie clearly created in the tradition of 1980's horror films. As such, the film contains special effects and overacting by the cast that come off as relics of that era. There is a side plot about the mother's sister that is particularly cheesy in its execution. Still, King's story is unique and imaginative, allowing the film to overcome most of the genre cliches that are present. I found myself terrified in some moments and laughing in others. In the end, Pet Semetary is far from perfect, but is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to come from that time period.
There really aren't any particular things that could be pointed out as to why this movie is scary, because that's exactly why it is scary: you don't know what's going on or what's going to happen and a deliciously eerie environment is set up right from the get-go. The frights may take a little while to come but once they get to you, they are relentless.