Pet Sematary is a 2019 horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Holidays, Absence, & Scream TV Series). It’s based off the 1983 novel by master of horror Stephen King (IT, The Stand, Doctor Sleep, & Castle Rock) & a remake of the 1989 film. It was written by Jeff Buhler (The Midnight Meat Train, Nightflyers, ABCs of Death 2, & Jacob’s Ladder). It was produced by Mark Vahradian (Transformers franchise, Red 1/2, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, & Deepwater Horizon), Steven Schneider (Insidious franchise, Paranormal Activity franchise, Split/Glass, & The Lords of Salem), & Lorenzo di Bonaventura (G.I. Joe franchise, The Meg, Replicas, & 1408). Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was the original choice for director when the project was first started. It had a $21 million budget & it grossed $112.4 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Louis Creed (played by: Jason Clarke from Terminator Genisys, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Zero Dark Thirty, & Brotherhood), a doctor from Boston moves to the small town of Ludlow in Maine with his wife Rachel (played by: Amy Seimetz from Stranger Things, You’re Next, The Killing, & Alien: Covenant) plus their two young children Ellie (played by: Jeté Laurence from Sneaky Pete, The Ranger, The Snowman, & Gotham) & Gage (played by: Hugo Lavoie & Lucas Lavoie). Exploring the woods, Ellie with her mother Rachel stumbles across a funeral procession of children taking a deceased dog to a cemetery called Pet Sematary. She meets her new neighbor Jud Crandall (played by: John Lithgow from Dexter, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Cliffhanger, & Raising Cain) there. He warns them that the woods are dangerous. At the university hospital, Louis tries his best to save student Victor Pascow (played by: Obssa Ahmed from The Long Dark & The Expanse) but it’s too late. He starts having dreams & hallucinations of the dead kid. On Halloween, the family cat Church is killed by a truck. Jud takes Louis to the Pet Sematary, then farther to an ancient burial ground to bury Church. The next day, Church comes back but he’s not the same animal as before! Ellie wants nothing to do with the cat but she feels bad later on when he goes missing. She gets distracted when she sees Church at her birthday party & a unforgettable tragedy occurs. Dealing with heavy grief, Rachel & Gage go away to family to have a distraction from reality. Rachel is tormented by memories & visions of her dead sister Zelda (played by: Alyssa Brooke Levine from Un monde à part). Pascow tries to warn them about what’s going to happen. They end their vacation quick to get back home before it’s too late. Louis is home alone for now & he decides to take matters in his own hands. What will happen next with this painful decision????
The original Pet Sematary is one of my all time favorite Stephen King adaptations so I was very skeptical about this remake when it first announced. I really enjoyed Starry Eyes so I thought it had potential to be really good so I gave it a shot & seen it in theaters on it’s opening week. For the most part, I thought Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer made it their own film rather than your typical shot for shot remake. The only thing I wish they didn’t change was the ending. I hated the new ending with a passion for this & it almost ruined the whole film for me because it was cliche & just flat out ridiculous. The cinematography stood out here with some creepy visuals & the production design was top notch. I thought the original Church was creepier & his presence was felt more there. They tried too hard with the new cat but I guess it could have been worse. The two main changes that I didn’t even think came close to the 1989 film was Victor Pascow & Zelda. Those characters changed the entire atmosphere in their moments for that feature but they were nothing special in this version. That really hurt the overall production for Pet Sematary. Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, & Amy Seimetz were great in this. Jeté Laurence was an huge improvement when it came to the Elle role. The Hugo Lavoie twins were disappointing as Gage & the new twist made that character very plain. It had some nice dark moments & it’s very different from the source material at times so it’s not as predictable. Besides the awful finale, I had lots of fun with this new adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel. It had a great flow to it & it always entertaining from start to finish. The 1989 film is far superior but this remake is still worth viewing, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount Pictures! This 2160p (2.39:1) transfer with HDR: Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks amazing in 4K. The cinematography & production design really stand out when it comes to the visuals on this release. It’s loaded with a huge variety of audio which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 ,Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the UHD. It’s also packed with various subtitles which includes English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, & Turkish. It’s one of the best technical releases from this year!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount Pictures! The 4K has no extras on it, all of these are located on the blu ray disc. “Alternate Ending” is a little over 9 minutes. This was so much better than the crappy ending they used in the actual film. I am shocked that they didn’t go with this one instead. “Deleted and Extended Scenes” which includes Daddy’s Nervous Too, Your Kids are Lucky, I Wanted Her to Die, She Didn’t Come Back the Same , It’s Not Real, I’m Leaving in the Morning, & Did You Miss Me Judson?. “Night Terrors” is almost 5 minutes, it features three of the main characters facing their fears which includes Louis, Rachel, & Ellie. “The Tale of Timmy Baterman” is a little over 3 minutes & it’s an extended story from Jud. “Beyond the Deadfall” is broken down into 4 parts. “Chapter One: Resurrection” is almost 17 minutes. It has interviews with directors Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer, actors Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, & various members of the production. They chat about their love for the original novel. They bring up the original film. They talk about their experience, working together, & the changes with this version. “Chapter Two: The Final Resting Place” is almost 13 minutes. It has interviews with various cast & crew members from the production. They chat about filming in Canada & how it still looked like Maine. They talk about various locations including the house & the road for the feature. They say it was a struggle choosing from two different homes for it. They go over the production design especially the actual Pet Sematary& mention how detailed it was for being put together in such a short amount of time. They bring up that a real Pet Sematary was near where they filmed everything. “Chapter Three: The Road to Sorrow” is almost 14 minutes. It has interviews with various cast & crew members from the production. It takes you behind the scenes on the 5 different cats that played Church. It shows them training & filming their scenes. It shows you the Pet Sematary location & the top notch production design for it. They chat about the big change from the book & movie in this remake. They talk about the difference it makes compared to them & how it plays out. “Chapter Four: Death Comes Home” is a little over 18 minutes. It has interviews with various cast & crew members from the production. They go into great detail about the special fx & the characters that go through changes during the film. They talk about the Zelda role. They mention how she is used more in this version compared to the book & the original film. They chat about dealing with death. They bring up that they changed the ending the last minute & on the set while they were filming. It’s also has a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy. It was released in Blu Ray, DVD, & a double pack with the original film. It’s available everywhere Tuesday, CHECK IT OUT!!!!