I always like to tell the story about how, when I was first getting into horror movies, I thought I was brave enough to see Pet Sematary in the theaters. I was 11 and had seen Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Halloween 4 and Child’s Play in theaters, so I asked my mom to take me to Pet Sematary. I got so scared before the trailers ended I asked her to leave, and I didn’t see the original movie adaptation until it was on video.
Pet Sematary has meant a lot to me in terms of facing my fears. A few years ago I finally did get to see it on the big screen when The Egyptian showed it. As an adult, the themes of Pet Sematary speak to me even more deeply. So I was very pleased when the remake took those themes in some new directions, offering an alternate interpretation to make the same points. Now the remake is on Blu-ray with a few more alternate directions.
The Blu-Ray of course looks clear and sharp. It illustrates the difference between 1989 filmed movies and 2019 digital movies. The aesthetic also may have been intentionally muted. The forest and burial ground have atmospheric lighting and fog and you can see all the craggy detail in the barrier and headstones.
I liked the new ending. We have the one that’s faithful to the book. This is a good new interpretation that still spells doom for the Creeds. The alternate runs nine minutes from the point Louis (Jason Clarke) gets knocked out by Ellie (Jete Laurence). It’s a little bit more like the end of the book but in different context. Louis still signed his family’s death warrant. The ending in the film is the most striking consequence of the story. I think they took this first pass to the next level.
Deleted and extended scenes show Louis being a good father before it all goes bad, more bonding with Jud (John Lithgow), a different version of Ellie taunting Jud. Night Terrors give you three new dream sequences in the woods. They did film Jud telling the Timmy Baterman Story.
There’s a thorough one hour documentary about the development and adaptation, and production through all departments including the cat wranglers. Laurence’s screen test shows how good she was already.