Release Date: April 5, 2019
Runtime: 101 mins
Director: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke
I saw “Pet Sematary” on a Thursday at 10:30 p.m. I was the only person in the entire 300-seat theater. I almost fell asleep.
“Pet Sematary” is based on a novel of the same name by prolific horror fiction writer Stephen King. I am relatively certain the only things I found interesting and clever about this adaptation can be found in a purer and more enjoyable form in King’s novel.
The idea of framing a horror story around the death of a loved one and being unable to accept they are not around anymore could have worked out great. It has worked great several times before. The problems I have with this movie are less to do with the story and more to do with the way it was presented.
The acting in this film was uniformly bad. Some performances were definitely worse than others. Child actress Jete Laurence, unfortunately, has an integral role and is thoroughly unconvincing. Australian actor Jason Clarke puts on the worst attempt at an American accent I have heard in some time. This is a bit surprising as he has shown he is capable of believably imitating an American style of speaking in 2017’s “Chappaquiddick.” John Lithgow (“Shrek,” “Interstellar”) is hamming it up. He is sometimes fun to watch, but his role in this film is pretty limited, and he does little to save the audience from the boredom emanating from every other aspect of the movie.
The directing is not completely incompetent, but it really is not anything special either. Obviously, the actors certainly could have been directed better, but there is not even anything visually interesting.
This movie uses jump scares to trick audience members into thinking what they are seeing is actually scary. There is at least one particular moment which would have actually been a bit scary had I not been so incredibly annoyed by the painfully loud burst of music playing over the state-of-the-art sound system.
There was really nothing I enjoyed about “Pet Sematary.” I could not help but feel the moments and characters the film chose to focus on were the least interesting in the entire story. I would have been more interested in a movie more focused on John Lithgow’s character; at least that would be more entertaining. I even found myself wondering about the truck driver who goes ridiculously fast on residential roads and ends up killing multiple people. What is his story? Is he just overworked? Is he forced to speed in order to deliver the product in time? It could not have been any less interesting than the story we were following.
As the credits of “Pet Sematary” rolled and I joyously leaped from my seat to exit the empty theater, I heard a brief section of the song being played over the scrolling list of names. It was essentially hitting me over the head with the intended message of the below-average movie I had just watched. It was one last moment of insulting laziness before the large theater door swung closed, and I was finally able to leave.
I do not recommend anyone see “Pet Sematary,” especially not in theaters. If you saw the trailer and it looked interesting to you, you have basically already experienced the entire film. The trailer literally gives everything away. Read the book if you want; it will probably be more entertaining. If you really want to see a movie like this, go check out “Hereditary” from 2018. It is infinitely better directed, better acted and more genuinely terrifying than “Pet Sematary” could ever hope to be.
Drew Eckhart is a sophomore history and pre-law major from Edmond, OK. He has loved movies for as long as he can remember but thinks his passion really began when he watched “The Dark Knight” for the first time in theaters. His favorite type of movie blends comedy and drama seamlessly, and he loves great action films. In Drew’s free time, he enjoys reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies. His favorite TV show is “BoJack Horseman” and his favorite movie is “Whiplash.”