Movie review: Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”

New Remake proves that “Sometimes dead is better”

Kolby Spomer
Staff Writer

Stephen King finds himself in a bit of a Renaissance period right now. Since his dominance in the early 80s to late 90s, he had somewhat faded from the public. He was still well-liked, but nobody was making much of anything based on his works anymore. Then the Duffer Brothers came along and made “Stranger Things”, the Netflix hit inspired strongly by King’s novels. 

Thanks to that series, a new “IT” movie was greenlit, and it did incredibly well, garnering critical acclaim in addition to lucrative financial success. Suddenly, King found himself making money hand over fist as new projects based on his works kept getting produced, like the “IT” sequel and the much anticipated “Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep”. 

With things looking bright for King lately, it is immensely disappointing that the remake of his cult classic “Pet Sematary” is so disappointing. It is easily the worst film I’ve seen this year and commits the greatest sin a film can, namely being unbearably boring while also being terrible. I would rather watch last year’s “Holmes & Watson”. At least that movie was fun bad, in a “Room” way. This movie is so bad that I almost walked out of the theater. There is nothing to be gained by watching it, and I cannot believe that anyone enjoyed it. 

The biggest problem with the movie is the complete lack of horror. I was at no point scared at all by this film. The jump scares are telegraphed for almost a full minute before they happen, and the atmosphere is so drab that the film ends up being closer to a bad drama than a good horror film. Whoever the head cinematographer was should probably take a step back and look at their work, and then decide to quit and spend time with their family because it is utterly uninspired. 

There were points when I had to squint to make out what was going on. Another huge problem with the film is that nothing happens. If you know the basic premise of “bury things here and they’ll come back, but ooooh watch out because they’ll be spooky,” you already can guess what happens. Now I understand that it’s a remake, but so was “IT” and that managed to have original scenes and scares. This movie is a near shot by shot copy of the original, with one twist that was already spoiled in the trailer. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well hey man, I haven’t seen the original so maybe I’ll dig it.” You’d be very wrong. My friend hadn’t seen the original and about 20 minutes in he had already guessed every single plot point down to when they would occur. This is all due in part to the script being absolute trash, with the writers either being too scared or too careless to change anything at all or write anything resembling an original line. 

When a movie is inspired by the works the of Stephen King, it not only creates excitement for hardcore fans of King, but also casual fans and therefore is easier to promote. It is obvious that the film-makers knew this and relied more on King’s name than their own talent.

Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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