Another of Stephen King’s all-time classic novels, Pet Sematary, has received its second on-screen adaptation. The thrilling page-turner was first brought to cinemas six years after it was penned, a whole nine after Stanley Kubrick’s unanimous success with The Shining, and yet to this day there has been an ongoing yearning for a remake of Mary Lambert’s 1989 supernatural horror. Well ladies and gentlemen, fans of horror, King and cinematic delights, your prayers have been answered – courtesy of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. But, as the main characters of this chill-inducing tale discover, there are some prayers which might not warrant a welcome reply.
Lifted directly from the novel and onto the screen, the film sees Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his family move far away from their busy life in Boston to Ludlow, Maine, in a search of a more peaceful and family-orientated future. Shortly after their arrival, the Creeds suffer the loss of their cat Church and rather than break the upsetting news to their daughter (Jete Laurence), Louis and Rachel (Amy Seimetz) decide to bury the pet with the excuse that it ran away. However, seeing the sadness and disappointment in the little girl’s eyes, a widowed neighbour named Jud (John Lithgow) takes Louis to a burial ground with a darker, more spiritual aura. When tragedy once again strikes the family, Louis returns to the cemetery – only this time, he releases a far more powerful evil than he could possibly imagine.
Remakes can be unforgiving, but in this case it really seems that newer is better. Clarke is proving to be one of the hardest working actors of the past twelve months, with three major pictures in which he stars being released in March and April alone. This, however, is no hindrance to his commitment and excellence in playing the role of Louis, which perfectly epitomises the essence of a Stephen King protagonist. Likewise, the other family members bring their own dread and fear into the room. Laurence gives a disturbingly brilliant performance as nine-year-old Ellie, commanding the camera and injecting and increasing our anticipation of adrenaline and terror as the plot develops.
As remakes go, the film hits the nail on the head in a gruesomely brilliant way. Harnessing many of the elements that made other King movie adaptations such as The Shining, IT and Misery the colossal achievements they are, the film grips the audience from start to finish, but balances the horror and storyline to achieve the apex of entertainment, along with jump scares that are craftily sculptured, being neither rushed nor crowbarred in for the sake of it.
Flashbacks that occur throughout the feature could be seen to be a little excessive and simply filler material given the lack of relevance in the broader picture and third act of the film, but nonetheless, on the whole, Pet Sematary is a fresh-faced recreation that proves to be an engrossing thrill ride from start to finish. With IT also receiving reboots left, right and centre, the time for King novels on the screen has never been more perfect.
Pet Semetary is released nationwide on 4th April 2019.
Watch the trailer for Pet Semetary here: