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Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Pet Sematary

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Resurrecting the dead is never a good idea, but it certainly makes for great entertainment. Join http://www.WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Pet Sematary. For this list, we’re looking at how critics are receiving the 2019 adaptation of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”. Watch the video at WatchMojo.com
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Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Pet Sematary


Resurrecting the dead is never a good idea, but it certainly makes for great entertainment. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Pet Sematary.

For this list, we’re looking at how critics are receiving the 2019 adaptation of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”.

#10: It’s One of the Best Stephen King Adaptations

From “The Shining”, to “Stand by Me,” to “The Shawshank Redemption,” the works of Stephen King have inspired some of the best beloved movies in cinematic history. These past couple years in particular, however, have been something of a Stephen King renaissance on the silver screen. Not only did 2017’s “It” surpass “The Exorcist” as the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie of all time, but “1922” and “Gerald’s Game” emerged as two of the best original films on Netflix. “Pet Sematary” appears to be another winner, with Perri Nemiroff of Collider saying that it “isn’t merely a solid entry to the long list of films based on King’s work; it joins the ones sitting at the top as one of the very best.”

#9: It’s a Worthy Remake

This isn’t the first time that King’s 1983 novel has been adapted for the screen. Hitting theaters in 1989, the first adaptation of “Pet Sematary” received mixed reviews, but reigned at the top of the domestic box office for three weeks in a row. Since the original is a cult classic, we can understand why some fans may be hesitant about this remake. Just as the 2017 version of “It” surpassed the 1990 miniseries, though, the new “Pet Sematary” actually improves upon its predecessor according to critics. In his review for Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore noted that “the book’s creepy premise justifies this modern second look, which proves to be a solid if not earthshaking horror pic built around notably good performances.”

#8: It’s Darker Than the Book

Without giving too much away, Stephen King’s 1983 novel revolves around every parent’s worst nightmare, making it one of the author’s darkest works. King actually thought he crossed a line when he wrote the book and that no publisher would pick it up. According to some critics, this film doesn’t just capture the book’s sinister spirit, but it may be even darker than the original source material. Initially, Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm didn’t think it was possible to make a film version of “Pet Sematary” that was bleaker than the book. In his review, though, Evangelista praised the film’s fearlessness, writing that “the new ‘Pet Sematary’ pushes the envelope, and then some, going further than King even dared.”

#7: Its Characters & Themes Are Complex

“Pet Sematary” is all about the grieving process, and how hard it is to accept that a loved one is really gone. Louis Creed tries to find a loophole in the Five Stages of Grief, going from denial, to anger, to bargaining, to depression, to playing God. The multi-layered characters and themes from King’s novel are present in this film as well. In her review for Collider, Perri Nemiroff mentioned that the scares here largely stem from the complexity of the story. As she ever so vividly put it, “‘PetSematary” digs its claws in quickly, injects the threat and uncertainty of impending death in your veins, and then challenges you to hold on tight as the characters are consumed by loss, desperation and violence.”

#6: It’s Full of References


Many of Stephen King’s stories exist within the same multiverse. So, whenever a new Stephen King adaptation comes out, fans are on the lookout for connections to his other works. Although it didn’t do justice to the original novels, the 2017 film interpretation of “The Dark Tower” was complimented for its numerous Easter eggs. The Hulu series “Castle Rock” drew inspiration from various King stories, littering every episode with little details that only true fans will pick up on. According to Monica Castillo of TheWrap, “Pet Sematary” is also loaded with “hidden references for people familiar to the story.” She notably singled out an updated cover of the rock song “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones, which plays over the end credits.

#5: It’s Unexpectedly Funny

One of the most pleasant surprises about 2017’s “It” is that the filmmakers weren’t afraid to incorporate a sense of humor, allowing the audience to laugh in between the scares. It would appear that “Pet Sematary” has taken a page from Pennywise’s book, balancing genuine terror with black comedy. Britt Hayes wrote in her IndieWire review, “The new version of “Pet Sematary” is both darkly humorous and quite chilling, modernizing some of the cheesier emotional beats of that earlier adaptation.” Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting was delighted to find that the movie had a funny bone, writing, “They also layer in an unexpected level of dark humor, which helps when the horror sinks to visceral, singular levels of edge-of-your-seat terror.”

#4: It Delivers the Scares

While a few laughs are certainly welcome, a horror picture should be scary above all else. Fortunately, “Pet Sematary” more than delivers in the fright department, giving its target audience exactly what they paid for. Peter Debruge of Variety highlighted the film’s chilling atmosphere, which particularly shines through during several flashbacks and dream sequences. Although Bobby LePire of Film Threat took issue with some of the film’s CGI, he ultimately felt that directors Kevin Kösch and Dennis Widmyer kept “the atmosphere oppressive and creepy, so when a scare lands, it does so in a big way.” Jonathan Barkan of Dread Central gave the film an especially glowing review, writing, “Scary as hell, beautifully shot, and faithful in tone, horror fans won’t want to miss this!”

#3: Amy Seimetz Steals the Show

Although Jason Clarke’s lead performance as Louis Creed has been generally well-received, it’s the supporting cast that’s garnered the most enthusiastic reviews. Heather Wixson of Daily Dead applauded Jeté Laurence as young Ellie, ranking her alongside cinema’s creepiest kids. SlashFilm complemented John Lithgow’s work as Jud Crandall, saying that he “brings a much-needed warmth to all the doom and gloom.” For many critics, the real breakthrough performance comes from Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed. While not a household name, you may recognize Seimetz from her appearances in “Alien: Covenant” and “The Girlfriend Experience.” Bloody Disgusting was enamored by her, stating, “Between Seimetz’s captivating performance and the role she’s given here, Rachel Creed is the one we nearly wish was the focal point of the film.”

#2: It Makes a Few Changes

While the reception to “Pet Sematary” has been mostly positive, critics have also cautioned purists that the filmmakers do deviate from the source material. The reviews haven’t delved too deep into spoiler territory, but they’ve made it clear that fans of King’s book shouldn’t expect a straight-forward, word-for-word adaptation. As far as critics are concerned, though, these creative liberties work to the film’s advantage. Even with these alterations, Bloody Disgusting assured fans that the film “retains the core essence of King’s themes.” Sometimes dead is better and the same can be said about change. After all, if Stanley Kubrick had remained 100% faithful to King’s words, we wouldn’t have gotten 1980’s version of “The Shining.”

#1: The Final Act Is Crazy

Based on the reviews for “Pet Sematary,” the final act is inclined to either make or break the film for audiences. The ending is apparently totally insane, even by Stephen King standards, splitting critics down the middle. For IndieWire, “The macabre poignance of the first two-thirds of the film swiftly devolves into silliness, ending on a note that is neither heartbreaking nor horrific.” On the other side of the coin, Blooding Disgusting championed the film for playing with expectation, saying, “Everything you thought you knew about this familiar tale will be used against you in the most invigorating, and chilling ways.” Whether you ultimately think the ending works or not, one thing is evident: it’s something we all need to see to believe.
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