Pet Sematary

Rated 2.0

The original cinematic take on Stephen King’s supposed scariest novel was a camp horror hoot, a strange mixture of gore and satire that holds up pretty well today. This take is more of a straightforward approach to King’s story about humans who can’t deal with death, especially when it comes to pets and family members. Jason Clarke steps in as Louis Creed, big city doctor moving to the country, where his wonderful new house is unfortunately bordered by a pet cemetery/Indian burial ground in the back and a road full of speeding trucks to the front. The death of the family cat leads to an ill-advised burial in the cemetery, which leads to a zombie return of the beloved cat. The cat is followed by a family member, and King fans will be surprised to see who that family member is (as long as you haven’t seen many of the commercials). This remake is sorely lacking the sense of humor that made the original twisted in a solid, King sort of way. The behavior of everybody in this movie is so stupid that when it is played straight, it just comes off as moronic rather than scary. Jete Laurence is very good as the young daughter, and John Lithgow is OK with a more serious take on neighbor Jud (played by the late, great Fred Gwynne in the original). The movie drifts away from the original book too much in the end and, again, could’ve used a few more sick laughs. It’s admirable that the filmmakers were shooting for something other than a note by note remake of the original but, by going off book too much, they lose some of the cruel sting of King’s intentions.