Pet Sematary isn’t just my favorite Stephen King book, it’s my favorite horror story of all time. I’m also pretty attached to the 1989 movie adaptation. When the remake was announced I knew I was going to see it. I mean, the more Pet Sematary the better, right? I couldn’t wait to see what new life 2019 technology could breathe into this older story. Unfortunately, I was so very disappointed. Not only does this movie fail at being a decent adaptation, it fails at being a good horror movie. I’m going to break this review into a spoiler free and spoiler section. I will discuss how it compares to the book, the 1989 movie and how it holds up on its’ own. There will also be a makeup look at the very end that I did based on the cover of my copy of the book. I posted this look on Instagram but I know some of you don’t follow me there. Please keep in mind, if you know NOTHING about Pet Sematary there might be slight spoilers even in the spoiler free section. Without further ado, let’s get into the spoiler free section of the review!
To put it simply, I hated this movie from the very first scene. Whenever I have a pretty lengthy review, I like to create a bullet list because I feel that gets across what I want to say in a more concise way so that’s what I’ll be doing here and for the spoiler section.
- The special effects and makeup are garbage. There is an intense over use of fog and some seriously fake looking darkness. It’s very obvious that some of the scenes were shot during the day and the darkness was added in editing. I’ll get more into my complaint about the makeup in the spoiler section.
- Certain details are needlessly changed. I’m not even talking about big details, though those are changed too. I’m talking about small details that were pointless to change. The one that sticks out the most in my mind is changing Jud’s beloved childhood dog, Spot, to a dog named Biffer who had a “mean streak.”
- This movie could literally have taken place anywhere. Jud’s thick Maine accent is completely taken away. I really missed the “ayuhs.”
- These characters are just terrible. I’m not going to criticize the actors and actresses themselves because I think they did a good job with what they had to work with. There is a lot of over acting from some and not enough from others; I’ll get more into this in the spoiler section.
- Major details were not only given away in the movie trailers but in the very first scene of the movie. It completely took away any shock value that that this movie might have had.
- The pacing was way too rushed in the important scenes and way too slow in the boring scenes. The whole movie just felt off.
- There are so many cheap jump scares.
- The ending to this movie is honestly so unbelievably stupid. There are B horror movies with better endings.
If you were only interested in the spoiler free section, thank you for reading. If you see the movie, I hope you enjoy it more than I did! If you would like to see the makeup look I created just scroll to the bottom past the spoilers. Now let’s get into the good stuff, the spoiler section!
- The special effects makeup on Victor Pascow was atrocious. It literally looked like cheap Halloween makeup. On the flip side, the lack of makeup on Ellie after she was hit by an actual truck is atrocious. You mean to tell me this child got slammed into and doesn’t have a scratch? I understand not wanting to show a broken and bloody child but they could have at least made it look like she was injured in some way. In the 1989 movie, you never see Gage’s body but you do see his clothes along the road. This gives the viewer enough of a visual to know that the poor baby was hit hard enough to knock him out of his clothes. Ellie not having any injuries really through off the horror of the scene.
- I honestly wasn’t that bothered by the “big” change of Ellie being the one to die. Grief is grief. What I was bothered by, however, is how much Ellie talks after coming back from the dead. This version of the Wendigo is very talkative but also, very boring. In the book, the Wendigo does talk through Timmy Baterman and somewhat through Gage. It’s made more chilling because Gage is a toddler that could barely talk when he died so when he says terrible things it’s shocking but with Ellie it’s just annoying. Like, we get it, you’re an evil spirit here to do terrible things. The lines that these writers have given Ellie are honestly cringey and ruin the atmosphere.
- What happened to Louis and Jud’s friendship? Their friendship is such an important aspect of the book and the 1989 movie but it’s almost completely removed in this movie. They now have a neighborly relationship and Louis seems annoyed with Jud most of the time.
- The important but tense relationship Louis has with his in-laws is completely removed in this movie.
- Hey guys, have you heard about Zelda? What about Zelda? Zelda is really spooky, huh? That’s what this movie does with Zelda. It will hit you in the head with it over and over and over. It completely takes away the horror of what Rachel went through and turns Zelda into a cheap jump scare. They’ve changed Zelda’s death from choking to dying in a dumbwaiter. Of course, this means they had to throw in a cheesy hallucination (or whatever it was) for Rachel of blood seeping out of a dumbwaiter.
- Where is the emotion? Pet Sematary is horrific because of the real, raw grief. When Gage dies in the 1989 movie and Louis screams, it brings tears to my eyes every time. You could FEEL those characters’ pain and desperation. In this movie, Louis has the personality of a stale piece of bread. I couldn’t care about these characters if I tried. I felt no connection to any of them because this movie has no soul.
- This movie tells you everything which ruins any subtle feelings of dread or creepiness there might have been. Everything is over explained.
- The ending is so unbelievably stupid. It quickly turns from Pet Sematary into a cheesy zombie movie. I’m fine with artistic changes and new interpretations but this was just so unnecessary. I mean, do they all live happily ever after as a Wendigo possessed family or what?
I really wanted to love this movie. I went into it planning to not only judge how it held up against the book and 1989 adaptation, but also how it held up as a horror movie. Unfortunately, it did none of those things well. They changed so much that it only loosely resembles Pet Sematary and everything else is so bad that it’s ineffective as a scary movie. There was NOTHING about this that I liked. I know that some people will love this movie and that’s fine. We all have different opinions and if you love it that just means you didn’t waste your money on a movie ticket like I did. I would love to know what you thought about Pet Sematary and my review! Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Here is the makeup look I created in honor of the new movie’s release! I used the Morphe 35M Palette for everything except the green on my lower lash line and for that I used the Juvia’s Place The Tribe Palette.