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RELEASED: 1989, Cert.18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 103 mins
DIRECTOR: Mary Lambert
PRODUCER: Richard P Rubinstein
SCREENPLAY (AND NOVEL): Stephen King
MUSIC: Elliot Goldenthal
Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed
Denise Crosby as Rachel Creed
Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When the Creed family moves to a new house in a rural area, everything seems odd right from the start.
Rachel, Louis and their two children are befriended by an old man (Jud) who lives opposite, and he warns them of the busy road which runs through the tiny community. Louis and his daughter Ellie become curious about a pathway at the end of their house and are told by Jud that it is a 'sematary' for people's pets who had been road-killed over many years.
When Rachel takes the children to spend a weekend with her parents in Chicago and Louis is left alone in the house, Ellie's pet cat Church is killed by a juggernaut on the road outside. Distraught, as Rachel had made him promise Ellie that nothing would happen to Church in her absence, Louis decides to bury the dead cat in the pet 'sematary' behind the house and calls on Judd to help him.
Instead of burying Church in the main 'sematary', the two men wander off into a section at the back which apparently rests on an old ancient Red Indian burial ground. Jud warns Louis that anything buried in this part of the 'sematary' will come back to life, but won't be the same.
Church returns....but his personality isn't the affectionate, cuddly little moggie that he used to be....meanwhile, Louis, who is a doctor, has to attend to a human road accident victim....and, a local eccentric lady commits suicide!
That very loosely sets the plot and as always, you must see the film for yourself to find out more.
Firstly, I was quite pleased to note that Stephen King wrote the screenplay himself for Pet Sematary, so I hoped that would add some quality to the proceedings as I often find that something can be lost if another person takes on a famous author's book and writes a film script for it. Not having read Stephen King's novel of Pet Sematary, I hoped his screenplay authorship would ensure that the film would inform me by not straying miles from the book and that I'd be getting a reasonably accurate picture.
For the first fifteen or so minutes, the film held my interest but I was instantly irritated by the character of Rachel Creed. I found her to be a stroppy, difficult woman who came across as rather cold and unfeeling, yet I'm not sure if this was how she was meant to be, or whether the actress simply wasn't very good. I may as well say here that throughout the film, I found quite a lot of the acting less than mediocre, wooden in parts and lacking the intensity of emotional responses which would be required and natural at certain points during the story. Also, I found quite a lot of Fred Gwynne's speech indistinct, and he didn't seem very convincing to me, mostly because back in the 1960s he became too typecast into the American sitcom character of Herman Munster, and I couldn't get that out of my head. In my opinion, the best piece of acting was that of Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, and even then only towards the end of the film....he seemed to take quite a long time to crank himself up into the role.
There were one or two moments in Pet Sematary where I jumped just a little, not expecting certain occurrences, but overall for me the scare factor of the film was disappointingly low, plus I found the storyline pretty tedious. I also got quite angry with what seemed to me to be the lack of necessary supervision from both Louis and Rachel towards their very small son. Going back to the spooky issue! Whilst I was watching, I kept expecting something really chilling and frightening to happen, but it just didn't materialise. OK, there are a few little parts where, as I said above, the surprise and visual effects of certain incidents startled me slightly, but I kept waiting for the big frightener...waiting in vain!
Strangely enough, the one small scene in the film which I did find rather jarring, didn't have anything directly to do with the main content of the storyline, nor was it one of the creepy bits....but, as I was watching that piece, I wanted to reach into the screen and get hold of certain individuals to give them a good shake-up, due to their attitude towards what was happening.
I've watched quite a few films which have been adapted from Stephen King stories that are extremely good, some being very convincing, but I'm afraid this one didn't do it for me at all. Unlike many other Stephen King story film adaptations, with Pet Sematary, it simply came across to me as ridiculously far-fetched, and I don't feel that far-fetchedness was handled anywhere near expertly enough to creep me out. If a film with an unreal storyline is produced and directed in a certain way, the results can often be terrifying, but such efforts fell flat in this instance, rendering Pet Sematary something that I found borderline tedious. Perhaps I may have found it more enjoyable if a different cast had been chosen....I'm not sure.
I really don't think that I feel drawn to watching Pet Sematary again, as for me it was something I was expecting to be good, but it didn't anywhere near come close to what I'd been anticipating. Over a period of years, I've read quite a lot of reviews on this film, and it does seem as though I'm in a minority in my opinion, so bearing that in mind, it is possible that for anyone who's not yet seen Pet Sematary and likes horror movies, this could be something you'd enjoy.
At the time of writing, Pet Sematary can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.71 to £19.99
Used: from £1.04 to £14.95
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Pet Sematary is a film based on the novel by Stephen King. He also wrote the screenplay and cameos as a minister.
The film centres around the Creeds, who have just moved to a new house in the countryside, a house that hasn't had anyone living in it for a long time. Their neighbor, Jud, tells them to be careful on the road as they are constantly being used by semis. He also shows them the Pet Sematary, where all the kids bury their pets after they got run over.
When the Creeds' cat suffers the same fate, Jud shows them a deserted hill with some bizarre markings on it past the Pet Sematary and tells the husband, Louis, to bury the cat there. Soon after the cat returns from the beyond, but he seems different: he's more aggressive and vicious than before. Soon, with the help of Jud, Louis realizes what happens. What he doesn't know though, is that he will soon need the help of that isolated hill again.
I don't mean this in a macho way or anything, but it's very rare for a film to scare me, but this does. It's directed very well, and is full of genuinely, tense, scary moments. The music helps with that, and creates a dark, foreboding atmosphere. The acting is good, especially Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall. He brings gravitas to his role, a complete man of mystery, you know he knows more than he's letting on but you don't know when or if he'll tell you. He's seen more than his fair share of horrors and so is reluctant to talk about the Pet Sematary but he soon finds himself helping the Creeds and, in the end, gets punished for it.
The family members are act adequately, and I don't know what it is but evil kids really freak me out. Perhaps it's because kids are supposed to be pure and innocent, to think of them murderously evil is a complete contradiction to what we think we know. Whatever the reason when the Creeds little boy says to his dad "I've played with mommy, now I wanna play with you" I knew it wasn't gonna end well.
One negative though is the ghost of the student that helps the family. I thought the reason why he helped Louis was a bit flimsy, and you never really found out why he knew all about the Sematary or the hill. Only a minor point though, overall it was a very good, creepy film, and highly recommended for anyone who likes Stephen King films or for anyone who just wants to be scared. An ideal Halloween movie!
Moving to a new place for most people is a new beginning but for the Creed family it could well be the end. Everything is perfect apart from two things, the semi-trailers that fly down the main road past their house and the mysterious winding path that leads to the pet cemetery, a place built on childrens broken dreams. All of the locals are reluctant to talk about the cemetery and its history. For if you bury your pet in the Indian burial ground behind the cemetery they dont always stay there.
One of my favourite Stephen King adaptations (for me only beaten by its sequel), it has everything that I like about horror films with a good storyline to boot. Both Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby work well together and its a shame we dont get to see more from both of them on the silver screen.
This is a bleak, nihilistic adaption of one of Stephen King's best and most enduring novels. Directed by Mary Lambert, this film truly stands out amongst the chaff of 80s horror flicks as a genuinely creepy, atmospheric riff on the reanmination of loved ones. The story starts as doctor Luis Creed moves with his wife and two young children into a large new country house, located next to a road which is plagued by the passage of huge trucks. A kindly old man across the road welcomes them, and tells them the legend of the 'Pet Sematary' deep within the woods behind their house. Whilst the family are away, the pet cat is run over, and to spare his young daughter grief, Luis is shown another burial ground even further in the wilderness, one which is said to have the power to bring the dead back to life. However, those who come back are changed, and although they retain some vestiges of their original selves, they have the stench of evil upon them. Tragedy strikes the family when the young toddler, Gage is killed by a truck. Driven near-insane by grief, Luis decides he has olny one course of action. The consequences are horrifying.... 'Pet Sematary' is definitely one of my favourite King novels, mainly because of the interesting plot, and it's a relief that the film stays true to its source. Few films horror films have bothered to tackle the emotional effects that the death of a loved one can have on those who remain behind. This film really invests in its characters, and as a result, the viewer is genuinely affected as the horror unfolds. It as to be said that as a result of this, the film is both dark and depressing, so if that's not what you're looking for, then watch out. The film is well above average in most respects. Both the acting and script are good, and this accentuates the emotional impact of the story. The direction is great, and Lambert really generates a creepy atmosphere. The sets are well design
ed, and they echo perfectly King's descriptions of the creepy graveyards. There are even a few good jump-scares, and folks not used to watching horror films have been known to feel a fair bit of fear whilst watching this flick. There is plenty for genre fans to enjoy. There is plenty of gore on show, especially towards the end, when psycho kid Gage grabs his daddy's scalpel and goes about his bloody business. The film is never boring, and has just about the right amount of action to balance with the creepy, gradually building atmosphere of horror. Overall, I strongly advise any horror fans to check this out. It's a great example of genre film making which impresses on every level. It's a bleak examination of death and the harsh realisation that sometimes, dead is indeed better.
I've just watched this film for the 2nd time in my life. The first time I think I was 9, and it really got to me. I'm 18 now and still think it's great! It's another film based on a book by the excellent Stephen King. The story foloows like this: A family move into their new house which is out in the country and befriend the old man who lives over the road! He tells them about the pet sematary, a place where pets are buried(if that wasn't obvious!). When the familes cat gets ran over by a truck(as there house is on a highway used by a lot of trucks), the old man tells the new neighbour to take it to a specail cematary, an ancient burial ground and bury it there. Anyway, the cat comes back, but not quite the same as it was when buried, it's evil!!! Next, there is a dramatic scene when a member of the family is killed, but I what tell you who or what by as that will spoil the shock a bit! You guessed it! They bury the family member in the ancient burial ground, and it comes back from the dead to run chaos. I won't tell you any more because it will spoil it!! I'd recommend this film to anyone who loves a good horror!!
Another conversion from a book by the brilliant stephen king, here we have a seemingly innocent tale of family life in suburbia, a new family moves out into the american countryside to start a new life. They befriend the old couple over the road, and spend many evenings listening to the old mans tales. One of them concerns a pet semetary, which is on an old indian burial ground, rumour has it that if you bury your dead there they come back to life. Firstly the families cat gets run over, the father buries it in the pet semetary, later that night its back eyes glowing and full of evil. Then the son gage a toddler is hit by a truck, and he two is buried there, when he comes back he is a demon, slashing at everything in sight and out of control, brilliantly filmed and well acted. to get the full effect you need to watch the film. But beware the things that go bump in the night!