The latest Stephen King film has arrived, in the form of a remake of the 1983 ‘Pet Sematary’. It is brought to life by directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, written by Jeff Buhler about the strange goings on around the ‘pet sematary’ (which is misspelt, emphasising the childish nature) and this remake proves to be a rather nasty shockfest that delivers bone-tingling chills and scares.
Beginning with an enigmatic shot that acts as both foreshadowing and a bit of a poetic device, atmosphere is created from the very start. The building of the atmospheric feel is a crucial part of what makes Pet Sematary work, as the chill factor rises it is the feel of what surrounds that builds tension and suspense.
Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their children. On arrival they discover a mysterious burial ground hidden in the woods near their new home. A ‘Pet Semtary’ for the town’s dead pets. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his neighbour Jud (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unspeakable evil with horrific consequences.
As a remake of the classic 1989 film, Pet Sematary is a worthy telling that evokes terror and fear successfully. However it isn’t free of some cliched tropes of horror: burial grounds, The Shining-like car-journey and many jump scares. But it utilises these supposed cliches to develop and create an atmosphere that is bone-chillingly eerie and tease and it really works.
The film nicely develops the family and their move, implanting subtle clues that help further the narrative until we get to the shocking revelation that had many of us cursing aloud in the cinema. It is full of nasty bursts of violence, at points evoking ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘The Shining’ in terms of the children. It is the daughter (as it was spoiled in the marketing) that truly gets under your skin, at the point of her resurrection. The “mummy” lines that evoke innocence helps put you on edge as you can feel the sinister atmosphere build.
‘Pet Sematary’ gets under your skin and tickles your spine, utilising horror tropes to build an effective film. It is all about the build of atmosphere which sparks scenes of horror and sheer unnerving-tension.
PET SEMATARY IS SET TO BE RELEASED ON APRIL 4TH IN THE UK & US
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