Pet Sematary - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pet Sematary Reviews

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September 2, 2016
Although it does have a somewhat unsettling atmosphere, Pet Sematary is ultimately a boring, tedious film without any real scares.
August 30, 2016
The late 80's and early 90's saw many adaptations of Stephen King novels. Since then, King has publicly denounced all but a few. I've seen many of these movies and agree with King on his dislike. While most of them employ characters and plot that resemble the story they are based upon, few are able to capture the true horror of the novel. When I stumbled upon the 1989 adaptation of King's Pet Sematary on Netflix, I was ready to write it off as another cheesy King movie. A quick glance at the credits revealed King as the screenwriter, so I decided to give the movie a shot. Surely the master of horror Stephen King would do justice to a film adaptation of his own novel.

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.
August 20, 2016
Lame. Just super incredibly amazingly lame. A burial ground that brings people back from the dead is a pretty silly idea, but nobody's better than Stephen King at showing how close silliness is to horror. And yet at every step the film spectacularly fails to even try and hide the stupid. The entire dead coming back to life plot point is revealed by their next door neighbor who insists on burying their dead cat there so vehemently and with such absence of motivation that I was 100% certain he had an ulterior motive. But apparently he was genuinely trying to help despite the fact that he knew the dead came back evil. Jeez. What follows from there is a series of spectacularly bad decisions where the lead guy decides to resurrect his dead son despite having seen and heard what a bad idea that is. And then when that leads to his wife's death he does the same for her. It's dark and stupid, a bad combination. And the payoff from all this are the worst monsters of all time: a cat and a baby. Hardly believable threats. It doesn't help that the lead guy is the worst actor I've ever seen. Or that Tasha Yar herself is just playing a grouchy shrew. A film as bleak as this with no real hope needs something at its core to lift it out of the muck. This one has nothing.
August 5, 2016
This was the one book Stephen King has repeatedly said he believed was too scary to be published. In my opinion, this is perhaps the darkest of all the immensely expansive library King has to offer his avid (and rabid) readers. So it's really no surprise that it translates into one of the most simply terrifying movies ever made.
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.
½ July 13, 2016
One of the better adaptions from a Stephen King novel.
July 2, 2016
If this dull little creeper is good for anything, it's to reinforce the horror movie trope that you should not bring dead things back to life, feline or otherwise.
June 22, 2016
Stephen King at his best!
June 7, 2016
Horrible. Turned it off.
June 5, 2016
Though there are quite a few cheesy moment, this film works as innovative 80s classic.
½ May 2, 2016
A renowned veterinarian and his family move to a rural area in a creepy house built next to an Indian burial ground which is now a pet cemetery. Oh and they live on a rural highway where everyone speeds because supposedly it's the only fun thing to do. Well, a tragic accident happens and poor doc goes nutso and buries something dead (no spoilers ) in the cemetery even though he's told by the cliche wise old man character not to do so. Well doc doesn't listen and the dead is resurrected to surprising consequences. If this all sounds silly it's because it is.
½ April 22, 2016
A somewhat dull 'zombie' film, with pretty much nothing happening for the first 60min, then once the ancient Native American burial ground & it's resurrective powers is discovered, the idiot decides to put his son in there - terrible idea! Gwynne is good, but nothing much to write home about otherwise, in terms of acting, soundtrack, cinematography or story - I just wish there was actual pet zombies, rather than just the cat. Should've had the Ramones song on repeat throughout the film - might've made it more fun!
April 16, 2016
This film is a mixed bag for me. Conventional wisdom is this film is garbage, though among horror film aficionados, which I consider myself, there is a significant cult following for this 1989 film adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The story of a secret burial ground where the dead can be brought back to life is a deceptively simple one, but King makes the story much more complicated when loved ones don't come back the same when their family members still love them the same and don't want to let go. Of all of King's horror and fantasy stories, this is the one that seemed best suited for a film adaptation in that it didn't have a huge scope, it wouldn't require wild special effects, and it's a story with themes that would be universally applicable to a wide audience. My main problem with the film is that the characters are not well developed and the film tends to dip into cliched slasher film tropes much too easily and much too often. Despite the film's many flaws, there are some parts of this film that have always stuck with me. Some of those moments are lowbrow slasher/horror film moments, like the slicing of an Achilles tendon, the ghost guide with a bloody head injury or the sister with over-the-top spinal meningitis. All memorable, but not great filmmaking. However, there are some parts that are done very well and do deserve authentic credit for being well done, most notably the (SPOILER ALERT) heartbreaking moment when the father makes the decision to kill his re-animated son who came back bad. That singular moment is what the film should have been focused on building up to, both in terms of story and theme. A film focused on love, mourning and emotion would have been a much more powerful of film than one filled with pointless gore and bloody prosthetics. In any case, there's a fine score by one of my favorite modern film composers, Elliot Goldenthal. This film also features a very catchy theme song by The Ramones. Overall, this film is a pretty big disappointment and could have easily have been among the best King adaptation ("Misery" "The Shawshank Redemption" "Stand by Me" "The Shining" "Carrie"), but it's nowhere close. However, it's also far from the worst King adaptation, for which there are unfortunately many (most of them from the 80s and 90s. "The Lawnmower Man," anyone?). Worth watching, but hardly a classic.
March 27, 2016
"Pet Sematary" has stood the test of time not because it is a great film, but because it is the creepiest damned thing you will ever see. Stephen King at his best.
February 28, 2016
It's not a perfect film, far from it. But it's still a good enjoyable film and has its great moments of terror.
February 6, 2016
I really like this movie, The only downside is the cat...I can't really seem to stomach it
February 3, 2016
One of the worst-acted good movies in the history of horror cinema.
January 25, 2016
A bit lame, but good in places.
January 11, 2016
This Movie Scared me so much back when it came out a while ago, I still like it.
December 15, 2015
If you love horror and haven't seen this movie, stop everything and watch it now! I love Pet Sematary. It's one of the best horror movies ever made. I love the creepy feel of the movie and the effects are great. The acting, for the most part, is excellent. (I didn't really like the little girl in the movie). This really is a must watch for horror fans. It still holds up very nicely and is so much creepier than most of horror being put out today.
October 23, 2015
So damn good! One of the better King adaptations. Still holds up. Sometimes dead is better.
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