Stephen King was on a roll when Pet Sematary came out in 1983, with each horror novel seemingly creepier than the last. After all, everyone loves a loyal pet, and many families can recount how they commemorated an animal/fish/bird’s life at death. Turn that domestic normality on its head and you can terrify most everyone. King admitted this was perhaps his most disturbing work, the one where he may have gone too far (which is saying a lot).
The 1989 film adaptation starred Fred Gwynne, Dale Midkiff, and Denise Crosby and did a fairly good job capturing the spirit of the novel. It performed well enough that it spawned a best-forgotten sequel.
And as with all things, it was been remade this spring and is out now on disc from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The premise remains the same: the Creeds have moved into a rural home near the local Pet Sematary. No sooner do they settle in than their cat is killed and therefore becomes the latest resident of the graveyard but then things get weird.
Adapted by horror film writer Matt Greenberg, it was polished by Jeff Buhler (David Kajganich went uncredited) and then directed by the duo of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the movie performed well at the box office but I, like so many others, question “was this a necessary remake?”
The cast of Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Maria Herrera, and Sonia Maria Chirila are all good in their roles but the entire production has been a read this, seen that already feel and despite trying to explore some new aspects of the town and sematary, it just never rises to the feeling of freshness. The first film did a more faithful job adapting the novel and here they try to go deeper into the mythology of the land but isn’t enough. The more gruesome visuals and thrills also fail to overcome the ho-humness of it.
The film was released in the usual assortment of formats including the $K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack. The 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD is only a slight improvement over the Blu-ray, despite being shot at resolutions of 2.8K and 3.4K and finished at 2K. Yes, the image is sharper overall, especially important when offering an atmospheric film with creepy shadows, lots of night scenes, and shapes that go bump in the night. Colors, notably within the Creed house, do pop nicely. The exteriors build on soundstages are brought into sharper relief here which does spoil the overall feel the producers were hoping for.
The film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack works quite nicely, well matching the atmospheric feel of the film. The sound effects are sharp and do add a nice feel to the experience.
The Special Features are found on the Blu-ray and contain an Alternate Ending (9:16), followed by Deleted and Extended Scenes (16:09); Night Terrors (4:57); The Tale of Timmy Baterman (3:04); Beyond the Deadfall: Chapter One: Resurrection (16:54), Chapter Two: The Final Resting Place (12:38), Chapter Three: The Road to Sorrow (13:59), and Chapter Four: Death Comes Home (18:07). These are all moderately entertaining and informative but nothing out of the ordinary, much like the film being supported.