PET SEMATARY Review – It’s the Cat’s Meow

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Pet Sematary review — This resurrection of the 1980’s novel and film adaptation is frightfully good.

Pet Sematary reviewBased on the bone-chilling horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his haunted wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two children, 9-year-old Ellie (Jete Laurence) and toddler Gage (twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie), from bustling Boston to mundane Maine. Along for the ride is Ellie’s beloved cat, Church.

The family hopes to enjoy a quieter, happier life, but they find only unrest and sorrow after Ellie discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods behind their new home. When tragedy inevitably finds the family, Louis turns to the nearest neighbor, old-timer Jud (John Lithgow), setting off a series of events that unleashes an ancient evil brewing beneath the soil and waiting for fresh blood.

Taking the subject matter seriously enough, the filmmakers and cast play everything straight, leaving room for both reverence and primal fear. The matter of death is explored and examined as appropriate, without being heavy-handed.

The script steers clear of flip, tension-diffusing one-liners— Pet Sematary comes off as a genuine, heartfelt story; not just an excuse for an assembly line of shocks—but there are some bait-and-switch moments, punctuated by the expected jump-scares. It’s a horror flick, first and foremost. With that comes some nonsense that had me rolling my eyes a time or two, but the very end of the film packs a great “wow” punch.

The cast is excellent. With understated performances, Clarke and Seimetz are believable, especially given their unbelievable circumstances. Laurence and Lithgow are nicely paired as well, giving us some reason to care about them as unlikely friends before everything goes terribly wrong. When it comes to the blood-curdling horror, you’ll see that the R-rating is appropriate, but there are not many gross-out moments.

For those familiar with the King tale, you’ll get what you’re hoping for, plus a few new twists. The enduring line from the novel, the 1980s big screen adaptation, and this incarnation of Pet Sematary is: “Sometimes dead is better.” But in this case, the resurrection is warranted.

Rated R
1 Hour 43 minutes

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Pet Sematary review — This resurrection of the 1980’s novel and film adaptation is frightfully good.

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Harold Whitson on April 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Great review!!
    Looking forward to seeing it!!

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