Stephen King, the author, is probably better known as the king of horror. He has published many horror and supernatural books and received numerous awards for them too. A quick Google search showed me adaptations of his books starting from 1976 (Carrie) to 2018 (Children of the Corn: Runaway).
There have been remakes of the adaptations with the most recent being a sequel to a 2011 movie. It also seems that there are three more movies slated for release this year that are currently in post-production including It: Chapter Two.
Being a horror fiend, I was looking forward to watching the Pet Sematary and hoping that it will be scary enough to scare myself. Yes, I watch horror for the sole purpose of scaring myself.
A movie isn’t good if I don’t leave the cinema terrified and my heart racing. Also, if I can watch without the need to cover my face, it isn’t scary enough. I tend to prefer watching horror over any other genre. Yes, I’m weird like that. I admit it.
What is Pet Sematary?
Based on Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary, comes the movie directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. It is the second adaption of the movie. The first movie came out in 1989. The book itself was published in 1983. Guys, this does not contain any spoilers because, please go watch. Highly, highly recommend!
To continue, when I found out that this movie was based on a book (I had not existed yet when the first movie – what more the book – came out, just to give you guys a perspective of my age), I was excited. A horror movie based on a book? Yes please! (#bookwormforlife) I had to read the book first because I also have this habit of comparing the written version with the movie version. So, I searched for the ebook to read before watching the show.
Okay, first things first, I did not enjoy the book. Stephen King might have written many, many books and won numerous awards. But, personally for me, the book was draggy as hell and the suspense and horror came at the last part of the story. I had to force myself to finish reading because I knew I was going to be watching the movie. Frankly speaking, the only reason I finished reading the book was because I wanted to compare the book with the movie. Next.
Then, I found out the first movie was on Netflix. YES. Friday night plan, settled. I’m staying home to watch it. New horror to watch. New way to scare myself. Also, something to make marking more bearable since in my real life, I teach young minds. I mark faster when I’m terrified. I pause during the frightening parts and mark when the story is unfolding and the plot is being thickened. The best horrors to me are the ones that help me end my marking faster.
So, the first movie follows the storyline of the book which makes the movie slow and boring. I kept getting distracted by the quality of the acting and the visuals as well. It seemed so obvious to me that this show was fake and god, the accent of the actor playing Jud was terrible.
I know they were trying to follow the book, but c’mon. It just made character sound so unconvincing. Then came the ‘terrifying’ part of the movie. Again, it was close to the end of the movie. The suspense and the built up set my heart racing. Then came the special effects and the only thing I was feeling was, amusement. I ended the show feeling meh.
My expectations for the Pet Sematary has been lowered down to the lowest level. I was prepared to be disappointed. Then it started and my first thought was, “this seems different.”
This movie had hope!
The bottom line.
Folks, if you are expecting this to follow the book, leave that expectation outside the cinema and be prepared to enjoy the show. While this movie certainly has the same title, similar characters and parts of the book in the storyline, it is not the same. Take out the draggy first part, take out the unnecessary details and take out the brief moments of horror. This remake, my friends, has a whole lot to offer.
Jeff Buhler, the writer, certainly took liberties to change it up quite a bit and well, let’s just say it worked out just fine. The length of the movie (1h 43mins) was perfect for the story. The change and removal of some parts of the book made the story less draggy while still having a storyline that is understandable. The acting of the cast was also superb and thank God, the actor who played Jud, John Lithgow, had none of that fake accent. Seriously, please don’t fake an accent when you don’t have one.
The movie has some suspenseful moments interspersed throughout the starting, just enough to follow the book and to introduce the plot of the show. About an hour into the movie, that’s when they start unfolding the build-up towards the climax of the show. It’s this part where they completely have a different storyline than the book. Only a small part was similar but majority of it is not the same.
What effect did this part have on me? Well, my heart was racing, I couldn’t look at the screen directly and I. kept. fidgeting. I covered my face with my hands and watched the screen through the spaces between my fingers. Then I covered my face with my hijab because it’s translucent so I can still watch but it’s not that terrifying. Also, the creepiness of this part, I’m still shuddering thinking of it. Major props to my fiancé for being patient with my fidgeting and my constant need to try and watch by looking at the reflection on his spectacles (it didn’t work btw. Too small.).
The ending. God, the ending. Have I mentioned that you should leave your expectations outside the cinema? Yes? Okay, one more time folks. It’s not going to be the same as the book. I literally gasped out loud at the ending. I did not expect this at all! Even my fiancé, who usually manages to guess the endings of movies (how annoying), said and I quote, “Okay, I did not expect this at all.”
If you love watching horror with a good storyline, I suggest you give this a try. It was well-worth the money spent and I have no regrets. If you still need convincing, this movie has a 7.5 rating on IMDb and an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Boring book. Boring first movie. But this? Well-worth the money you’re spending. Leave your expectations at the door. Enter with an open mind and be prepared to be creeped out in the best possible way ever.