Pet Semetary: Sometimes the Original is Better

I honestly have no problem with remakes as long as they either improve on the original or reinterpret it in a new and exciting way because, let’s face it, if they do neither, then what was the point of remaking something?

Take Pet Semetary for example (please!). This Stephen King tale of terror, remade from a very good 1989 attempt, follows Louis Creed and his family as they move to a quiet country town in Maine. While there, Louis discovers that there is a pet cemetery on his property that brings whatever is buried there back to life and, when tragedy strikes the Creed family, Louis tempts fate, the gods, and the ungodly by bringing the lost back, but it comes with a cost… because sometimes dead is better!

1989’s Pet Semetary was a brutal, unflinching masterpiece that was both scary and disturbing. I know that portions of it have not aged gracefully, but it’s the movie that still makes my Achilles tendon ache and makes me watch The Munsters in a whole different light.

This new version of Pet Semetary is one of the most pedestrian and boring efforts I’ve witnessed in a good long while. I’m struggling to think of a single aspect of this remake that might be considered superior to the original and I can’t think of a thing. Everything, from the performances to the setting to even Pascow’s makeup… this Pet Semetary has dialed everything down for absolutely no reason.

Ah, but does it at least reinterpret the story in a new and interesting way? Ehhhh… it tries. Bless it, the movie tries so darn hard to be something new and different and, if I was going to praise it for doing anything, it would be that.

The problem is, every single choice the filmmakers make to differentiate Pet Semetary from the original version only puts an exclamation on the sentence that says this is an inferior remake. The raising of a different character from the dead seems like a cop out, the final confrontation between Louis and that character is comical, and the ending leaves you with a sense of forehead-smacking dumbness rather than complete doom. Heck, even poor Pascow is all but forgotten in the finale.

It’s not a good remake and, even if this was the first cinematic interpretation of this story, it would still be an underwhelming horror film. There are no scares, the snails pace plot just bumbles and meanders until the supernatural shenanigans kick in and then it bumbles and meanders with supernatural tedium.

In almost every measurable sense, Pet Semetary is a mediocre remake when compared to the original, and a mediocre film by itself.

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