‘Pet Sematary’ Falls Short

Photo/ Claire Suchy

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Pet Sematary delivers an hour and forty minutes of horror, excitement, and suspense. With shaky ratings, Pet Sematary raked in nearly $60 million at the box office.

The cast consists of both well-known and new actors, including John Lithgow, Jason Clarke and Jeté Lawrence. However, the strong performances put on by these actors wasn’t enough to save the movie from the inelegant structure.

Exemplary performances are put on by virtually each actor, but Amy Seitz, who plays Rachel Creed, delivers a hauntingly emotional spectacle. Seitz is able to capture the past torment of Rachel Creed as well as her present conflicts; in addition to this, she is able to make her character feel authentic.

Pet Sematary is directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch. This is their third project together, the first two being Starry Eyes and Holidays. Both Kolsch and Widmyer and relatively new directors, Pet Sematary being among their first five directing credits. Though throughout some parts of the movie the story seems forced, Kolsch and Widmyer do an excellent job establishing an eerie tone and sense of dread throughout the film.

Based off the 1983 horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows the Creed family and their experiences with the Pet Sematary, spelled this way due to the speech impediments by the children in the neighborhood, near the woods by their new house. The family’s cat dies and they subsequently bury it in the pet sematary, but the cat eventually comes back to life with a changed personality. After misfortune strikes the Creeds again, when their daughter Ellie dies, desperation from Louis Creed, her father, causes him to bury her in the pet sematary as well. Though Pet Sematary offers an original plotline, the story is overshadowed by its clumsy structure due to its awkward pacing and dialogue.

This movie is the latest in a long list of adaptations from Stephen King novels, who wrote acclaimed movies such as The Shining. Pet Sematary, however, differs greatly from these movies in that directors takes a minimalistic approach to the horror elements of this film. Contrastingly,  It and The Shining are overwhelming horror movies, Pet Sematary offers less screen time to horror elements.

Just as many of King’s other adaptations, the story uses comedy to cut through some of the tension caused by the unsettling plot, yet in Pet Sematary it seems to do nearly the opposite. Jokes made throughout the movie carry weight and often leave the viewer feeling uneasy. This black comedy blends with the overall creepy tone of the film, and makes the comedy seem natural.

I would rate this movie 6/10 because it fails to deliver a satisfying plot and lacks development. But, it offers astounding performances, as well as comedy that helps balance the overall story. Though the organization doesn’t do justice to the story, Widmyer and Kolsch are still able to deliver a somewhat enjoyable movie.