July 2, 2019  (Web Review)

Pet Sematary

Paramount, 100 min., R, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, July 9

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Recently relocated from Boston, Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) are young parents who want their children—8-year-old Ellie (Jeté Lawrence) and 2-year-old Gage (twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie)—to live a quieter suburban life in rural Ludlow, ME. While exploring the forested area behind their new home—which is very close to a busy highway—curious Ellie discovers a macabre place where local kids for generations have buried their pets. Here, she meets Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), a widower who becomes a family friend. Soon, Louis, a physician, is experiencing nightmares that evoke the memory of one of his patients who died: Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmedi), who warns that “the ground is sour.” Naturally, Louis doesn’t mention this to Rachel, who is still guilt-ridden about a sick, disfigured sister who died young. When Ellie’s beloved cat Church is killed, Jud shows Louis a hilltop where dead creatures miraculously come back to life. But after a ritual rebirth, the pets are not exactly the way they were before (the transformation has something to do with Native American mythology and a beast called the wendigo). Ellie, who was never told that Church died, realizes that something is amiss, as her furry feline friend has definitely changed. And Jud eventually duly notes that “sometimes dead is better.” This second adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 bestselling horror novel features little in the way of character development, preferring instead to simply move on to the next plot point, while also serving up far too many jump scares and gross-out special effects. Optional. [Note: Blu-ray extras include the four-part “making-of” documentary “Beyond the Deadfall” (61 min.), deleted and extended scenes (16 min.), an alternate ending (9 min.), behind-the-scenes segments on “Night Terrors” (5 min.) and “The Tale of Timmy Baterman” (3 min.), and bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extras package for a so-so adaptation.] (S. Granger)