In Theaters: Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary (2019)
Directed By: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Written By: Jeff Buhler, Matt Greenberg

Remakes are a mixed bag. I don’t hate them just because they are remakes. I hate the ones that are poorly done (I’m looking at you A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010). It is my opinion that in order to do a remake properly you must make the story your own in some way. Otherwise, I can just watch the original. The Suspiria remake was my favorite movie of 2018 because it did just that, it kept the elements of the original but made a story that was very much it’s own. Does Pet Sematary succeed on that level? Yes and no.

There are some obvious changes but they largely feel cosmetic as the story unfolds. I won’t spoil anything for the people who avoid trailers at all costs but there is a new spin that is given away in the final trailer and it caused quite a stir. At the end of the day though, it just wasn’t that big of a deal. Yes, things were happening to a different character but they were largely the same things. I found myself checking out of the movie because it felt more like a rehash than a remake. Until the end. The right ending can save an entire film and that’s what happens here. The ending is so good that I left the theater with pretty good feelings about this movie. Thinking back on the film I realize, for the majority of it’s runtime, I was pretty unimpressed.

Two things have always bugged me about the original film. I never understood why Jud tells Louis about the Pet Sematary immediately, helps him bury Church there and then immediately starts lecturing him about the evil that is there. Just keep your mouth shut, Jud. Yes, it’s sad that the family cat died but you know it’s going to come back evil. Also, what exactly is Louis’ plan after their child dies. His wife and other kid leave and he brings the dead child back to life. I understand the motivation to do it but how exactly was he going to explain it to his family or any of the people who attended this child’s funeral? It never made sense. I was really hoping that this remake would address these questions or explain them in some way. It doesn’t.

I would guess that the first 90% of the film plays out more less exactly like the original. It hits all the same story beats and leaves just as many questions. The final 10% is amazing and completely different. This left me with mixed feelings about the movie overall. It’s hard to not think about what this could have been,

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