With a constantly ageing population, there is always going to be a fresh supply of movie goers, those who may not be familiar with the classics but also intimidated by their age, with some believing that they might not hold up. It is here where remakes can bring a wealth of knowledge, to help those that almost hit the mark get a second chance. In 2019, the classic Stephen King tale of modern man’s contempt against the natural order of things, and forces he was not meant to understand was reshuffled in the fitting remake of Pet Sematary.
When medical doctor, Louis Creed moves into the town of Ludlow, he thinks life for his new family will be wonderful, however, the family’s problems start when their beloved cat dies in a hit-and-run incident. The Creed’s friendly neighbour, Jud, suggests burying the animal on a patch of land far away. To the shock of everybody, the cat returns, but seems noticeably different, Making Louis a believer in the town’s supernaturally. As further tragedies befall the Creed clan, Louis will soon know the meaning of the phrase “dead is better”.
Remakes can be a thorny subject, especially when certain elements from the prior attempt still hold strong, e.g. a particular performance, though the new cast is more than willing to meet this challenge. Jason Clarke steps comfortably into the role of patriarch doctor, Louis Creed, alongside Amy Seimetz who brings a new take to Rachel, taking over from Denise Crosby 30 years later. John Lithgow also gives a memorable performance as Jud the well-informed resident of the local community, He has some big shoes to fill, taking the role over from the iconic performance of Fred Gwynne gave, but does so admirably.
While the plot has had some alterations to keep those familiar with the tale guessing. Pet Sematary also has had more of a renovation. It benefits from an impressive array of special effects, particular in the depiction of gore allowing for some truly unsettling moments when the town’s potential fully reveals itself. That said, the film is not exclusively a cavalcade of blood and guts, it has campy tendencies that help heighten the fun brining an almost playful level. It is as if you know ahead what horrible conclusion each scene is going to yield, and the film taunts you every step of the way.
It is easy to dismiss the news about the return of Pet Sematary as yet another remake, but underneath upgraded conventions lies an engaging kernel revamped and rejuvenated. Pet Sematary is an experience that is just as much fun as it is fearful. Toying with an expecting audience and terrifying those in the dark. With a new spin of classic cult concepts, we learn that some old pets do indeed have some new tricks that they can learn.
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