The 1983 novel Pet Sematary, from horror author Stephen King, is one of my favorite in his long bibliography, and he has written that it is one of the books he’s written that scares him the most. While imperfect, the 1989 film adaptation was a solid movie, stunted by some really bad special effects. It’s also notable that the screenplay for that movie was written by King himself.
The upcoming April 2019 adaptation, on the other hand, is not written by King and also seems to have made a big change from book to film.
Pet Sematary tells the story of Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who relocates with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children, from Boston to (surprise) rural Maine. There, he discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods that is known as the Pet Sematary. When misfortune hits, Louis turns to Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), for help and begins a horrific chain reaction that threatens to tear his family apart.
Considering how old the book is and that this is a remake, I realize that a lot of people probably know the premise, but for the sake of those who don’t, I won’t go too deeply into the story from what has already been shown in this trailer. Overall, the trailer pretty much details the majority of what will happen (seriously, trailers, it’s okay to be like under a minute long and just focus on stuff that doesn’t give away the whole movie), but in doing so, it also shows that they have made some changes from the book to this version.
The biggest being that, according to the movie synopsis and trailer, the Creed child who dies is no longer the two-year-old boy, Gage, but the older daughter, Ellie. From a movie standpoint, I get why this was done, simply because, as good as Miko Hughes was as Gage in the ’89 movie, it’s hard for an actor that young to be in a role that intense and make it work. Still, it’s a disappointing change.
One of the things I so viscerally remember from the book was the description King wrote of Louis watching Gage run towards the highway, waiting for this little legs to give up and he’d fall, but Louis realizing he wouldn’t stop too late. It’s a crushing scene and one of the passages I would cite to show how fantastic King is at crafting poignant description. Ellie also gets to have the role of being somewhat prophetic in the book, with visions of what’s going on with her father slowly descending into this endless Sisyphean madness of trying to play god with the ones he loves the most.
I’m also a little puzzled by all the extra youth occult stuff going on in this trailer. I get wanting to add more stuff to it, and maybe they’re using these kids as a way to avoid the problematic “Indian burial ground” motif, but it just turns the story from an emotional journey to another generic horror movie. For the most part, Pet Sematary is a quiet movie attempting to address the human question of “What would you do to bring back a loved one?” with a haunting answer.
What do you guys think?
(via Polygon, image: Paramount Pictures)
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