Sunday, October 25, 2015

Movie Review: "Pet Sematary" (1989)

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Movie"Pet Sematary"
Director: Mary Lambert
Year: 1989
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Dr. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves into a new town with his wife Rachel (Denise Crosby) and his two kids Ellie (Blaze & Beau Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes). Their new home is located off a rural highway that is a thoroughfare for big rig trucks, which tend to speed down the road. A slight walk from their house is a "Pet Sematary," and just beyond is an Indian burial ground that has the power to return the dead to life. After a tragedy strikes the Creed family and Louis learns of the burial ground's powers, his attempt to save a loved one may bring dire consequences.

Master of the horror novel Stephen King penned both screenplay for this film and the novel on which it's based. The northeastern United States is a favorite setting for Stephen King horrors, and "Pet Sematary" is no different as it's both shot and takes place in a rural town in Maine. Small rural towns are a heavily used setting in horror films as the feeling of isolation adds to the scare factor of the film. "Pet Sematary" eases into its horror aspect as it builds up slowly to its climactic moments. It spends the majority of the film setting a certain mood and introducing the audience to the settings and the characters, like Dr. Louis Creed, played by Dale Midkiff, his wife Rachel, played by Denise Crosby, and their kids Gage, played by Miko Hughes, and Ellie, who is played by twins Blaze and Beau Berdahl. The Creed family neighbor also gets introduced early on: Jud, played by Fred Gwynne, who most will know as Herman Munster from "The Munsters," plays a pivotal role when it comes to the Pet Sematary itself,. Aside from the graphic aftermath of a car accident early on, there isn't a whole lot of gore until the very final scene, not that this means the film is devoid of horror elements, because it does have them as the ghost of this car accident victim plays an important role and looks rather ghastly. There is also talk about Rachel's insane sister, who suffers from spinal meningitis and has a quite unsettling appearance that haunts her nightmares. Oh, and of course, there is the cat that died and came back to life. Super creepy. ***SPOILER ALERT*** The movie doesn't really go into full gear until one of the Creed family kids gets killed, when said individual is hit by a truck, stricken with grief Louis does the unthinkable and buries them in the Indian burial ground, which can bring the dead back to life. Kids are creepy enough, but an undead kid in a dapper little top hat carrying a scalpel as he giggles maniacally is straight up, downright terrifying. This final sequence with Gage has an excellent, unsettling mood and tension, plus, it's quite creepy. ***END SPOILER ALERT***

All this being said, the movie does have its flaws. It's not overly long, and yet feels like it is poorly paced due to the decision to focus on setting and character building for a long portion of the film. Some of the acting seems cheesy looking back on it, but overall, "Pet Sematary is a decent Halloween watch as it finishes strong, has a lot of good imagery, and banks on the expert writing of Stephen King to be effective enough.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
Two years ago, we were watching: "MST3K: Manos: Hands of Fate"

One year ago, we were watching: "White Zombie"

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