‘Pet Sematary’ is a poor-man’s horror film


Church, the Creed family cat, is one the main antagonists of the film. IMDb website photo

Angel Ortega

With cheap horror clichés and poor writing, “Pet Sematary” is one of the most disappointing horror films of the year.

Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) move from Boston to rural Maine with their two young kids to escape the exhausting work environment of the city. The family discovers a mysterious burial ground in the woods behind their home where the town has buried their deceased pets for generations. Their neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), warns the family not to wonder beyond the burial ground.

However, when tragedy strikes, Louis seeks spiritual and emotional refuge in the lands beyond the burial ground, unleashing a chain reaction of horrific consequences.

With any Stephen King remake or adaptation, one can expect a story of pure horror- both psychologically and visually.

“Pet Sematary” is regarded as one of the best novels of King’s career, and one of the most horrifying in modern American literature. The novel carries themes of human mortality, grief and existentialism paired with a harrowing story of a family overcome by evil.

With a book that is so heavily dense, filmmakers have all the power to replicate this story onto the big screen and recapture the dread that made “Pet Sematary” as infamous as it is.

However, we see none of that in this remake.

This film felt uninspired, rushed and lacks any true elements of horror.

The narrative and writing needed to be improved the most. The plot felt very rushed, which disrupted the overall flow of the film.

Because of how rushed the narrative felt, there was no time for actual character development to take place. Without character development, the audience cannot relate to any of the characters presented in the film. Therefore, if any deaths occur in the film, they won’t hit hard and can’t leave an emotional impact.

Since “Pet Sematary” lacked any character development, none of the characters exhibited on-screen chemistry and were just caricatures of their counterparts from the novel.

On top of poor character development, there were many flaws in the story, including plot holes.

My biggest gripe is how the directors chose to change many major plot points in the film and, in turn, abandon and reject the elements of the original story that made the story so horrifying.


The death of Gage Creed, the youngest child of the family, is one the most iconic moments of the novel. With the death of his youngest son, Louis is overcome with grief and decides to take drastic measures and bury Gage in the burial ground to bring him “back to life” to overcome his grief.

From there, King uses this story as the means to deliver the message that grief is a powerful emotion, but if we let it consume us, it’ll cause us to make irrational decisions and fall into a deep depression.

What directors Kevin Kolsh and Dennis Widmyer decided to do, however, was spare Gabe and have the older daughter, Ellie, die in the film instead.

Not only do they change a major plot point of “Pet Sematary,” Clarke and Seimetz put on a painfully bland performance when they realize their daughter had died. Toni Collette has set the standard for how an actor should act when their character’s child passes away during her performance in Ari Aster’s “Hereditary.” Yet, in “Pet Sematary,” both parents just lay in bed, sniffling with a few tears running down their face, delivering unauthentic, out-of-touch performances.

By completely changing the biggest plot point of the film, as I mentioned before, the directors abandoned the thematic elements of its source material and chose to kill Ellie for the sake of making a cheap, rushed horror film about a girl revived from the dead who wants to kill her family.

There are no longer themes of existentialism, playing God, human mortality and questioning the existence of an afterlife. It’s simply a run-of-the-mill slasher flick with cheap jump-scares.


“Pet Sematary” is disappointing and serves as an insult to Stephen King and his fans. Though there are moments in the film that truly feel dreadful or creepy, the film struggles to maintain that atmosphere of true dread and horror.

I am disappointed in this film and I hope Kolsh And Widmyer never make another adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.