Director: Mary Lambert
Stars: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Based on one of Stephen King’s darker stories, and that’s saying something, Pet Sematary was an oftentimes spooky-as-hell horror movie when it came out in 1989 and it is still one of the better King adaptations to the big screen today. Well, with the new remake, Paramount thought it would rerelease the original in a 30th Anniversary Edition on 4K and Blu-ray. So grab a shovel, your dead cat, and let’s head out to the old Indian burial ground and let’s find out how it holds up.
A young doctor named Louis and his small family move into a house in Maine, and if you know anything about Stephen King, then you’ll know that is never a good thing. There is a high-speed road nearby and across from it another house belonging to a local yokel named Jud played to old-timey country perfect by veteran actor Fred “Herman Munster” Gwynne. One day the family cat gets squished crossing the road and Jud leads Louis to the woods behind his house to where the titular pet sematary (yep, that’s how it is spelled) is…and then he leads him right past it to the shunned and haunted ancient Indian burial ground. The old bone yard is shunned because anything that is buried there comes back to life, but it comes back wrong.
After the cat, Church, comes back all crazy and evil, Louis’ toddler son meets a tragic end thanks to the damned road. So what’s an insane with grief father to do? That’s right, bury his dead child in the haunted Indian graveyard so that he can come back all evil and demon possessed. Sounds like a hell of a plan to me. Naturally that’s when the fun really begins, but I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to discover. Chances are if you’re a horror fan then you’ve already seen this one as it is pretty much a mandatory watch. But just in case you haven’t, then I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises. Just trust me when I say that if you like horror movies that actually are scary, then Pet Sematary is the movie for you.
The new 4K Blu-ray from Paramount has a few extras that deserve some love, even if they come back from the dead. There’s an audio commentary track with director Mary Lambert and Mary comes back for a new interview. There’s a featurette called “Stephen King Territory” about the inspirations behind King writing the book that inspired the movie, and a second one called “Fear and Remembrance” that’s a retrospective. There’s another featurette about the characters in the book and film called (surprise, surprise) “The Characters.” There is another short retrospective called “Filming the Horror.” Lastly there are three behind-the-scenes still galleries.
Pet Sematary is a great, spooky, creepy, and even sad movie. It’s one of the best movies to be made from a Stephen King book. No, not the best, but it’s up there. This new 4K Blu-ray looks great, it has some cool special features, and when you combine both of those with a movie this good it’s pretty easy to recommend it.