Review: Pet Sematary (2019)


If you’ve read some of my other stuff, you may already know that horror is one of my least favourite film genres. Whilst I do enjoy a good psychological thriller, more often than not horror films have no plot and an abundance of unnecessary jump-scares. Thankfully, the ‘King of Horror’ , Stephen King seems to be able to bridge this gap. Although I, personally, am not a fan of King’s written work, the rich and detailed story-telling translates brilliantly to the big screen, and the 2019 adaptation of Pet Sematary is no exception.

I think it is important to note that I have neither read the original novel or seen the 1989 adaptation, so therefore I was able to experience the newest adaptation with completely fresh eyes. Fans of the originals may be a little disappointed with some of the changes they have made, but at least you can go into the cinema somewhat prepared.

Pet Sematary 2019

For those of you who are not already familiar with the story, Pet Sematary follows Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his family as they move to the quiet of rural Maine, from the hustle and bustle of Boston. Mum, Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence) are soon introduced to the eccentricities of small town life when a super creepy funeral procession passes their house on its way to the local pet cemetery, or ‘Sematary’. When exploring the old burial site, Ellie meets and befriends their lonely neighbour, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow).

Note: I realised how unsociable I am when it bugged me that nobody even questioned the fact that all the kids using the pet cemetery are technically trespassing on the Creed’s land!!

The creepiness of the pet cemetery steps up a notch when the Creed’s family cat, Church, is killed by one of the many speeding trucks that pass by the house. Jud takes Louis to an ancient place beyond the barriers of the pet cemetery and tells him to bury Church and build a cairn. In a bid to spare Ellie from the horrors of death at such a young age, Rachel and Louis decide to tell her that Church ran away, however Ellie is confused because Church is sitting in her cupboard, alive(ish) and well. From here, the film takes on a more sinister turn as the family soon learn that sometimes “dead is better”.

Sometimes dead is better.

For me, Jason Clarke is totally underrated as an actor but his quiet and unimposing stoicism works really well in this film and adds weight to his performance. Amy Seimetz gave a believable performance as Rachel, the mum who had a traumatic experience with death at a young age. John Lithgow was brilliant, as he always is, and relative newcomer, Jeté Laurence handled the duality of her role very impressively.

That being said, the absolute star of the film has to be Church, played by a rotation of five different cat actors. Forget mystical burial grounds, this film perfectly highlights the mood swings that all cat owners experience on a daily basis in their very own living rooms.

Pet Sematary manages to walk the fine line that is horror. The story telling and tension builds slowly, allowing you to properly immerse yourself into the world that is being portrayed. Yes, there are some jump scares but instead of distracting you from what is on screen, they add to viewing experience as they are natural and organically placed.

The changes that have been made, much to the chagrin of many a die-hard fan, are there to both, carve out a new identity and most importantly, to allow a greater depth of dialogue and understanding between *spoiler*….         the undead Ellie and her father. Also, according to Mark, they have kept in but played around with some of the more suspenseful moments so that even if you already know what’s coming, you are no longer quite sure when or how.

Photo credit: Kerry Hayes – © 2018 Paramount Pictures.

Whilst I may not be angry at the changes they have made, I did have a few niggles…

First off, the character of Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed) was under used and under developed. I wasn’t really sure if he was important or what his purpose was.

Secondly, the little boy, Gage (played by twins, Hugo and Lucas Lavoie) is like two years old, why is he still sleeping in a crib? Not important at all to the plot but it bugged me every time I saw them put him to bed.

Lastly, if you’ve just bought a house next to a busy road, with massive trucks speeding past, and you have two young children, clearly you would put up some sort of fence or wall. I don’t have children myself but that’s just logical, surely!!

Anyways, rant over.

Overall, I feel that the difference between Mark’s enjoyment of the film and my own, shows that, when it comes to Pet Sematary, pre-conceptions can definitely affect your overall viewing experience. So if you are a newbie like me, then no problem, grab the popcorn and enjoy. If not, then I will keep my fingers crossed that you will enjoy this latest adaptation.

Seen it? Let me know your thoughts.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Batmom85 says:

    I’m not a fan of horror because my mom watched the o.g movie.. then I read the book when I was a teen.. had a cat named church the whole
    Emo’ Goth thing.. but why is church not black.. that bothers me like the crib thing bothers you.. that would bother me too. Great post! I kinda wanna see it but I’m old and scared or scary things now and CGI makes things 10 times scary than the old school film.. great post! Love your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      The cat was named after Winston Churchill I’m afraid. Tbh, I don’t think I would’ve coped had he been a black cat, they creep me out 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mommyincolor says:

    I loved the original as a kid but it really saddened me that the baby was killed. This one is no better with Ellie dying. Just the idea of a child being killed in such an awful way traumatizes me all over again especially since I am a mom of 2. As a mom, I can absolutely tell you I would have built some type of barrier by that road to keep the kids in. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment. I’m glad you liked my review.


  3. I’m not a horror fan, but I do so get little niggles like you! I mean how often in movies do characters trespass and nobody EVER questions it! And the toddlers in cribs as well; while in my experience friends and sibs who had babies kept them in their crib until they outgrew it there seems to be a surprising lack of knowledge in film departments about baby development! (like I’ve seen toddlers purely bottle fed in films before and I’m just watching like uh?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Haha I know! Most of the time I can ignore things but for some reason in this film I kept noticing things. Probably because it’s a horror and I like to be distracted so I don’t get too scared 😂😂
      Thanks for the comment x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Greatness Reinvented says:

    Watched this last weekend. I do think it is better than the 80s attempt with some good scares in places. Bring on a remake of Tommyknockers now.

    GR |

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Tommyknockers?!? I’m scared to ask but I’ll put it on my ‘to watch’ list.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Greatness Reinvented says:

        Great Stephen king book and two part TV movie. Worth a read then a watch.


  5. I’d really like to see the new version. A friend of mine got me a movie poster of this one. They were giving them away the day of. So that’s all I know of the updated one. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love a good horror but I find they are few and far between unfortunately. Intrigued by this, must give it a watch. Well written post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like this film but I also had questions about their parenting skills!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      😂 glad I’m not the only one. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

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