Not what I expected. Hailing from 1989 this classic crawled out of the burial ground to me. Disclaimer: I find Stephen King adaptations’ goofy, cringy, and weird. However, there have been a few exceptions, most notably (to me) The Mist among other revered classics that remain popular. Other mentions include Secret Window, which is predictable but enjoyable. The other being Dreamcatcher, which has excellent moments, but falls too close to the cheesy/oddball category which is something to say since I enjoy such shortfalls and see them as positives in other flicks. Silver Bullet, for example, has some great effects including a werewolf but the enjoyment value for me is subpar and incredibly stringy cheesy. The kid is better off using rocket boosters in the final race in Little Rascals than fighting the big baddy on a bridge. The Shining is not mentioned due to the film being more of Kubrick’s interpretation. Getting off track here, King has a knack for telling the supernatural. Pet Sematary involves his all; the supernatural, the loving family, Maine, creepy person, mystery, and innocent children. To include what I have mentioned above, Pet Sematary caught me off guard. Not thirty minutes after the movie ended I am still thinking about it…more along the lines of how this movie got under my skin and how will it remain with me in the forth coming days. Let’s just say I got up shortly after the credits rolled to use the restroom, and not closing the door all the way, my dog, my lovely dog, opened the door and stares at me. I thought she rose from the grave.
The story is simple and easy to follow. Dread follows, however, with every passing scene. Definitely something in the air lingering and it’s not rotting animal corpses. It’s actually hard for me to explain the feeling of dread. Maybe it’s the neighbor across the street. Comfort of an ominous trail disappearing into the thicket. A Native American burial ground which is never meant to be messed with. But really it’s more than that, perhaps the music setting a terror vibe that etched from the tree line in to the safety of the home. Then finally, into our protagonist’s anxious but venturous mind who only wants to keep what they already have obtained, unfortunately wrongfully stolen. Yes, like always, music was key. Especially in the final act. I hear the same sounds in horror today and is still effective. Notable mention to the final walkthrough of the house sequence. To think of the synopsis of Pet Sematary it does not ring any attention bells with the exception of being a King adaptation and a classic. In regard to my already premature expectation of anything King, including my forgetful thrill of seeing this many years ago yet under irresponsible substance usage, I did enjoy Pet Sematary.
And now, without further ado, my qualms. Everything was found forgiven till the final act. Which got messy. I don’t want to spoil anything per usual but I must make it said. Like King, things got a little…cheeky. I do not find children scary, they are more of a nuisance when utilized as a scare tactic. This is a gimmick and I don’t agree with the popular opinion they are scary. Sinister for example, which one day I hope to formulate words about on this site sometime, tried to make them scary. Punch them. This would happen to be my biggest criticism. Not fair? Jud didn’t think so either.
All in all, this is what I took away from it: Pet Sematary made me cringe but in a gross way. It got me spooked and care for the family. It made me pet my dog and want to look out for my future children. And sometimes dead is better, but also look out for the high road.