Retro Review: Pet Sematary

2011/07/04 16:05:11 +00:00 | Steph Howard

How far would you go for just one last moment with someone you loved? If you had the power to bring someone back, would you do it? Even if you knew there was a chance that your loved one would never be the same? Stephen King's Pet Sematary dares to answer that question, finding that sometimes, "dead is better."

When the Creeds move into their news house in the country, they were expecting a nice quiet life. But before they even begin to unpack, the Creeds discover that their house is built next to a “pet sematary,” created due to the speeding semis and the havoc they cause to the pets in the community. Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne The Munsters) explains to the Creed children that the sematary is a place where the dead speak, telling of the great lives they lead with the children they loved. What he later explains to Dr. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane) is far more unsettling: next to the pet sematary is an old Native American burial ground, where the dead can be resurrected.

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is one of the most emotionally disturbing movies I have ever come across. While this movie is extremely distressing at times, and downright terrifying at others, it’s done in a good way. Pet Sematary shows the tragic beauty of human grief, and is a movie that you should see at least once in your lifetime. The acting in this film is amazing and entrancing, you really empathize with the pain, and struggle along with the characters. If you don’t find yourself distraught at some point in the movie, you have no soul.

King's screenplay emulates his novel, which was inspired by true events in King’s life. Obviously, or maybe not, there weren’t any zombie cats or children running rampant in rural Maine. King was instead inspired by the loss of his daughter’s cat, killed by a racing semi, and the near loss of his youngest son who ran into the road. We all, at times, wish for a second chance with someone we’ve lost, but at what cost? King explores this question in Pet Sematary, showing the dire consequences that can be had when messing with the sanctity of life and death.

While Stephen King movies rarely match the quality of the books they are adapted from, Pet Sematary does a great job of capturing the magic from the book. Not only is this movie a classic King, it is also a film that explores the human condition, and for that, it should be cherished.