I like to give you my star rating up front, for those that just want a quick rating. 4.5 burial marker out of 5
Thanks to the folks at Late Nite Grindhouse in St. Louis, I was given the opportunity to see the new Pet Sematary. Like most remakes, I went in with the mindset that this was a totally different movie from the original. If you go in comparing it to the original then you are unfairly setting the movie up for failure. It would have been especially hard because I really enjoyed the original, it has always been the right balance of story and scares to satisfy that itch when I want something more than a popcorn movie but not a deep, complex chiller. That being said, now that I have formed an opinion of the new movie, I will be making several mentions to the original.
Let’s start with saying that I really enjoyed the new film, there were no lulls that allowed my attention to wander, and the acting was all very well done. It does feel like Pascow was barely a presence, and without seeing the original I am not sure that I would understand what he was trying accomplish.
A group of children in animal masks with a dead pet in wheel barrel. Although, to be fair, in the original he seemed to temp Louis more than prevent him from using the sour ground. I like the idea of Pascow, and I was hoping to see more of how he interacted with Louis in this movie, but they didn’t really flesh him out enough for my taste.
Church, on the other hand, seems to take a bigger role in this version. I thought that this Church was well utilized, without feeling over done. Like the original, he lurks and distracts the Creed family more than anything else. Church definitely feels like more of an omen in this movie. Every time I saw Church I thought, ok what is going to happen, but in a good way.
It is hard to beat Herman Munster as Jud, and if I would have been told that John Lithgow would have made a decent Jud, I would have had my doubts. Don’t get me wrong, there are few things that Mr. Lithgow has done that I have not enjoyed, but it didn’t seem like the role for him. Well, my doubts would be wrong, because he was excellent in this role. He really owned the part, instead of playing off Fred Gwyenne’s Jud, which I think made all the difference.
Ellie felt like she fit the times more in this movie, as an intelligent girl that was interested in the events going on around her. I think that Jeté Laurence did a great job fleshing out her character more. I always felt that the original Ellie felt a little 2 dimensional.
Gage rates as one of the scariest horror monsters for me, the original actor just played that innocent monster so well. The new Gage, played by the Lavoie twins, felt much like the original. I don’t know about scary, but they did catch that innocent feeling.
I don’t have as much to say about Louis and Rachel Creed. The new couple does a great job and I think, like Ellie, they feel like the version of their characters in a more current world.
Overall the only real complaint that I have (that won’t involve a spoiler) would be the movie may be slightly too fast paced. The original had a few parts that dragged on, but this one left me wanting in a few spots.
You might be wondering about the children in masks, and Rachel’s sister, but what is horror without a few good surprises?
Oh, and if you enjoyed the original song when the credits roll, the remake feels right too.