'Pet Sematary' Review: A Chilling Take on Stephen King That Can't Live Up to Its Source Material — SXSW

Read More: ‘Pet Sematary’ Directors Get Ahead of Fan Backlash to Explain Major Change From Stephen King Novel Louis ( Jason Clarke ) and Rachel Creed (Amy Seimetz) have just relocated with their two children from the big city to the quiet, rural Maine town of Ludlow, where they hope to establish a sense of normalcy.

For much of the runtime, the directing duo confront grief and guilt in a manner that resonates deeply; familiar as viewers may be with the source material and Lambert’s take on it, Kolsch and Widmyer manage to subvert those expectations to deliver an unnerving exploration of death and its emotional effects.

That approach may appear heavy-handed to fans of both the novel and the 1989 movie — as are winks and nods to King’s bibliography — but this “Pet Sematary” is more effective than the previous adaptation, at least until the climax.

Read More: ‘Pet Sematary’ Trailer Delivers Stephen King’s Classic and Twisted Scenes That character development is key to understanding her ongoing arguments with Louis over how to explain Church’s disappearance to young Ellie.

Louis’ guilt takes on an additional, subtle dimension in this version: Victor is black, and the script pays closer attention to the Native American origins of the supernatural cemetery in question.

Unfortunately, many of these headier ideas are lost in the film’s final moments, as “Pet Sematary” spirals into the realm of the cartoonish with an ending that feels more like a punchline than a gut punch.

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