The original 1989 film Pet Sematary is a title that is instantly familiar within the genre of horror. The story is also one of Stephen King’s most recognizable novels. We now live in a time where horror films are being created with great quality and craft. The genre is going through a sort of new golden age. So, when word first got out that a modern remake of Pet Sematary was in the works, many were understandably excited. While the 2019 film is not the greatest among its contemporaries, it is not without its strengths. A great cast and chillingly crafted visuals give Pet Sematary something to offer for horror fans.
New Life in Classic Characters
One of the great things about remakes is the opportunity to get new life into classic characters. Pet Sematary is no exception. The roles seem tailor-made for every actor. John Lithgow is the veteran presence and brings a grizzled but warm element to Jud. Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz both add deep emotive qualities to Louis and Rachel. You can easily feel their pain and anguish. The star of the film, however, is relative new-comer Jeté Laurence. As the lynch-pin character of the film, she gets the audience completely invested. She achieves polar extremes in demeanor, from the loveable little girl to the vile undead shell of the character. Both iterations of Ellie are achieved with naturalness and ease.
Fear in Imagery
The other major strength of Pet Sematary is the film’s chilling tone and visual iconography. An atmosphere of lifeless dread is present throughout the entire film. Cinematography and score work in tandem to underline the horrific visual elements. The film’s marketing featured some particularly disturbing visuals. Some of those include a feral looking Church the cat and a procession of eerie animal masked children. The cemetery itself is another chilling visual element that is a key feature of the film’s tone. It has a look reminiscent of a backwoods cult gathering place. A specific tone, strengthened by visual elements, come together to create a truly horrific atmosphere.
A solid cast, along with creepy visuals, brings Pet Sematary into the modern era for a whole new generation of horror fans.