“Pet Sematary” struggles to stay above ground

Story by Will Hanson, Assistant A&E Editor

“Pet Sematary” is a remake of the 1989 film of the same name which is based on a novel by Stephen King. The film currently holds a rotten score of 58 percent on rotten tomatoes.

The film stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, and John Lithgow.  It follows the Creed family as they move from Boston to rural Maine and discover a mysterious burial ground in the woods near their new home. After a tragedy strikes, Louis Creed and his neighbor Jud use the “Pet Sematary” to set off a chain of horrific and terrifying events.

The majority of the performances in the film were effective in portraying the varying range of emotions that they all feel during the course of the movie. Seimetz is the stand out, overshadowing Jason Clarke’s adequate but somewhat boring character. Seimetz proves herself as a truly fantastic actress in her role of the Creed family matriarch, Rachel. She portrays true grief and fear in a way that I have not seen in a film in a long time. The fairly weak script is no issue for Seimetz, and she still manages to shines in “Pet Sematary.” I would love to see her in more leading roles in the future.

Clarke appears in the lead role as Louis Creed, the father of the family. Clarke has had his fair share of strong roles in the past, but his portrayal of a grieving father comes off as quite boring and uninteresting compared to Seimetz’s utterly fantastic performance.

The film also stars Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed, the daughter of Louis and Rachel, and John Lithgow as the Creed’s neighbor Jud. Both Lithgow and Laurence are crucial to the plot and each play their characters very well. Both have strong scenes, but both also struggle to overcome the weak script. Seimetz was the only of the four leads to completely overcome the flaws in the script.

Another standout was that of Church, Creed’s pet cat. Church plays a pivotal role in the story and becomes the first to come back from death by means of the cemetery. The cat is played by four different felines, with two cats being the main actors. I was amazed by how well trained the cat-actors were in the film. I do not think they could have gotten better animal trainers to work on the film.

The film starts off strong with a slow but effective burn towards the ending climax. Jump scares are used in an effective and limited manner, and suspense is perfectly mounted.

The last 20 minutes was one of the most disappointing and underwhelming horror endings I have seen in a long time. The film is so effective in the set-up that I was upset at how terrible the ending was in comparison to the original film and novel.

With an ending so awful, I walked away from the theater barely remembering how great the beginning of the film was. I believe that directors should be allowed to make creative liberties when adapting any novel, but not when the choices in question weaken the script a surprisingly large amount. The first three-quarters of the film are stronger than its original counterpart, despite the creative differences. An ending is what sticks with someone when they watch a film, and this ending left a really bad taste in my mouth.