Ahlia Karam | 26/03/2019
There surely won’t be any argument of whether the movie is better than the book in this Stephen King adaptation; the answer is a simple no - not even close.
Pet Sematary starts with a classic tale of Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), packing up his family to move from the city lights of Boston to the greener pastures of Maine. The simpler life they were searching for is unfortunately not what they find. Crammed in the family sedan Louis, his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), their son Gage (Lucas Lavoie), daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and of course, Church the family cat, are all smiles pulling into their new property, which includes hundreds of hectares of forest that will be the children’s playground. Little do they know that this forest holds a powerful secret, one that should be kept that way. Our first encounter with this darkness is Ellie’s discovery of a pet cemetary, as the film is aptly named.
Loveable Ellie quickly meets and plucks up a grandfather-esque relationship with neighbour Jud Crandall, played by John Lithgow. This is the relationship that would lead the family into the depths of that forest and ultimately to their demise.
As would be expected by any Stephen King adaption the movie is rampant with foreshadowing, to the point of simply giving away what is to come. Despite this, the playful direction of Kevin Klosh and Dennis Widmyer manages a few jumps out of the cinema seat.
Klosh and Widmyer further investigate fear in a clever portrayal of how fear can quickly derail life’s most intimate moments. The film dances around humans’ inherent Thanatophobia and questions of whether there is anything to follow.
Despite this preoccupation with fear, the film was oddly humorous, with the cinema erupting in laughter on a number of occasions. It’s not clear if this was intentional or a fortuitous addition to character by Jason Clarke, but the humorous take is an easy distraction from the ‘edge of your seat’ atmosphere that the film tries to immerse the viewer in. What brings us back to that classic horror feeling, to some extent, is the score.
Christopher Young plays on the eerie sounds of the forest and everything that could possibly go bump in the night. While it could seem cliché, the creaks and clunks of an old wooden house is sometimes all the audience needs to remind them of the macabre tale they are following.
Hold on to your popcorn extra tight, but don’t expect this movie to be keeping you up at night.