Sometimes Dead is Better

“Pet Sematary” is a book written by Stephen King that was then developed into a movie in 1989 with a remake of the movie arriving in 2019. The 2019 remake of the 1989 movie proves that sometimes dead really is better and they should have left this gem of a horror film alone.

“Pet Sematary” is about a man named Louis who moves his family into a new house, so that he can start his new job being a doctor at a college campus. When they arrive at the new house, their only worry is the road in front of it where large trucks speed by.

 Upon further inspection of the land, they notice a path that leads into the woods. Later on that day, their new neighbor, Jud, who lives across the street from them, takes them down the path and shows them the location of a pet cemetery there.

 Initially, the move works great, but it isn’t until the family cat, Church, gets hit by one of the trucks where things start to go haywire. Jud, now being a close friend of the family, shows Louis a place beyond the pet cemetery that can solve his problem, but in the end this decision will change everything for the worse. 

Both films follow this basic plot of the book, although the most recent adaptation also takes its own creative liberties to “make the story more coherent and better.” Even though the newer one tries to put a fresh spin on Stephen King’s classic, the new additions and changes makes it feel like a Hollywood cash grab instead of appealing to fans of the original, while also making it fun for new generations. First and foremost it is important to point out everything that made the original great. 

First it is imperative to talk about the original and what made it good. Although the movie didn’t have all the special effects used in movies now, the practical effects are gross, creepy, and still hold up even though it is and older film. This is especially true for a character named Zelda who has spinal meningitis. The sight of her twisted-up back and her sunken-in eyes is still a haunting image whenever someone says the name Rachel. Another great thing about the original is that it gives side characters such as Jud, Pascow, and Zelda a good amount of screen time which allows the side plots to be more elaborate, while not taking away from the main plot. Characters, in general, are also more developed and relatable, so throughout the movie, rooting for them to be okay is easy. The Creeds’ family is a realistic family who the viewers can easily relate to; they have close bonds and real struggles that are heart-wrenching to watch. This is shown throughout the film, but is especially strong when a major character gets hit by a gigantic truck and the family is forced to live knowing that if they had just gotten there in time he would have been saved. This movie isn’t without flaws because there are times when the acting is a little cheesy, and the Creed’s daughter, Ellie, is extremely annoying throughout the film, but it’s a fun watch with believable characters and an interesting plot. The 2019 remake, on the other hand, fails to achieve the amount of greatness that the original did. As an extreme horror fan and a lover of Stephen King it is outrageous that they want people to spend money to see such a horrible film. It also gives people a reason to hate book to film adaptations which sucks because there can and have been good films based off of books. This is also a great example of a horror film that gives people fuel to hate on horror films and movies like this are some of the reasons why horror tends to be an under appreciated genre of film. 

One thing about the newer one that causes a problem for starters is that the Creed’s family does not feel believable at all, so getting immersed into their world is harder because it just feels like actors doing exactly that-acting. Another issue was that the lack of practical effects, and the overuse of CGI, made everything that could have been extremely suspenseful or visually interesting, look jarring and out of place along with looking unrealistic. This is shown for instance when they show a member of the family getting hit by the truck. The truck looked extremely fake and made the scene almost comedic. In the original, this scene was filmed different and the character wasn’t even shown being hit which was more effective and creepier than a clearly fake CGI truck flying across the road and hitting her. 

Zelda and Pascow also seem like underused characters, and while they had a really good makeup and practical effects, they barely had any screen time which is a big disappointment for anyone who liked seeing those characters on-screen in the original. They also changed a multitude of aspects from the original such as how Zelda dies, the overall lore of the cemetery, a gigantic portion of the ending, and the most hated of all, the decision to have the character that dies switch in the movie. Even though these changes are definitely unneeded and bad it’s not as bad as the fact that the movie doesn’t stay true to the story while still not doing anything interesting with the plot which is a disappointment. This movie seems to have only been made to add on to the abundance of Stephen King movies being made recently, to make money off of the excitement of the IT remake, and worst of all to cheat loyal fans of the original to spend money on a bad Hollywood cash grab remake. 

Watching the 2019 remake of “Pet Sematary” is a waste of time that would be better spent watching the original, or quite literally anything else. For all those fans of horror movies with an interesting plot and good effects the original is definitely a must watch. 

Junior Trinidy Acevedo is a staff writer for the 2019-2020 Colonel. She has a strong love for anything horror and has a large collection of T-shirts. She also loves spending time with family and camping.

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