Despite the changes, Pet Sematary (2019) is still faithful to King’s novel in its own way. Unfortunately, it still didn’t work for me.
Pet Sematary (2019) Synopsis
Louis and Rachel Creed move to the Maine countryside with their young children, Ellie and Gage, to experience a lifestyle change. They quickly discover, though, that the property they bought might harbour something sinister. The nature of this darkness soon reveals itself when after Ellie’s beloved cat is killed, neighbour Jud brings Louis to a desolate hilltop; whatever is buried in the sour soil there is revived, albeit in a twisted and evil state. When a worse tragedy befalls the Creeds, a grief-stricken Louis is besieged by the temptation of using the accursed land. Despite knowing the inevitable outcome, he succumbs to temptation and proceeds as planned.
Hate to say this but I didn’t enjoy this remake. Nor did I find any part of it frightening.
That’s partly to do with me knowing the story so well; I’ve read the novel and watched the 1989 movie several times. The whole dark animal thing was also amusing instead of terrifying because my family used to own a schizophrenic terrier. Give my L a rawhide bone and the savage monstrosity that emerges will put down Pennywise himself in 30 seconds.
But seriously … what didn’t work for me was, the major plot changes in the second half. Not only do I not see the purpose for them, I felt they burned away the true horror of the story.
If you’re familiar with the original events, you’d know what I mean when I say what truly sickened, what truly horrified, was not all the undead business but what Louis Creed was repeatedly forced to endure. Not to get all pedantic here but don’t you agree the most effective horror stories are those you cannot bear to imagine yourself in, no matter the amount of make-belief involved?
Perhaps removing this unbearable bit is necessary for today’s “polite” storytelling standards, so many snowflakes and all that. Whatever the reason, I felt the plot changes neutered the worst bite of the Pet Sematary tale. Quite honestly, the corresponding ending felt lame too.