I’m on a roll with reviewing things I detest recently, so here’s another one!
Even though I have raved for several pages about Pet Sematary, I really do hope that I’ve communicated that it’s by no means a perfect story. While some issues in the book are due to poor and goofy execution, the film in particular can come across as weak because it doesn’t illustrate or explain enough.
A movie adaptation should be able to stand on its own, and the people who have gripes about Louis’s “stupidity,” or other things like Judd falling asleep when he’s supposed to try and stop Louis from resurrecting his son, aren’t wrong. The book typically implies when the burial ground’s influence is at work, whereas the movie often leaves you guessing at how far it can travel and how potent it can be.
That said, the sequel is absolute garbage.
An actress dies during a low budget film production, and for some reason, her son and divorced husband move to the town where she died: Ludlow, Maine. The father, Chase, takes over at the town’s vet clinc, and the boy, Jeff, befriends a local kid named Drew, who has an abusive stepfather played by Clancy Brown (who, for shits and giggles, I will now refer to as the Kurgan).
The Kurgan is an obnoxious, small-town cop who was a boyfriend of Jeff’s mother in high school, and his presence clearly unsettles Chase.
The Kurgan kills Drew’s dog Zowie one night for messing with his rabbit pen (even though he electrified the cage and it worked just fine in discouraging the dog), so Drew employs Jeff to help him take the dog beyond the pet sematary, where it will be resurrected. On Halloween night, the Kurgan begins beating Drew for sneaking out, only to be killed by the new and “improved” Zowie. The kids take him to the Micmac burial ground and he comes back as stiff, weird, and rapey, but nicer to Drew for some reason.
Goofy, stupid things happen. Jeff goes insane for no reason and employs the Kurgan to help him resurrect his mother, who apparently has not decayed in all this time. Zowie attacks random people and things, as well as popping up in Jeff and Chase’s home somehow to growl menacingly with glowing eyes. A bully constantly berates and annoys Jeff, seemingly because he’s offended by him having a dead mother. The Kurgan kills the bully and is seen by Drew doing it, so he suddenly goes kill-crazy and uses his car to run Drew and his mother dead-on into a potato truck.
That’s a weird way to go in a horror movie.
It’s silly, gory, and not the least bit scary; a B movie in every sense. I almost really enjoyed it for that, but it felt the need to keep reminding me that Pet Sematary exists, with tons of pointless, stupid throwaway lines and visual callbacks that didn’t even look the same as the first movie. Even if I weren’t irritated on behalf of Stephen King and his original work, it’s not a good idea to remind me constantly in your crappy film that I could be watching a better film.
And hey, if this is a sequel, is Rachel still “alive” and wandering around killing people? They hint that some time has passed, since Ellie is now apparently institutionalized, but they didn’t even have the gall to continue the story from Pet Sematary’s ambiguous ending. That probably would have still insulted and detracted from the first film, sure, but at least it would have been interesting and made some kind of sense as a sequel.
It’s not like Taken 2 or The Hangover: Part 2 or their sequels, which might have benefited from a character shuffle at some point.
Instead, they just name drop copyrighted things for their stupid little zombie story. Why not just make it a generic zombie story then? Their burial ground isn’t even consistent; it initially changes what the Kurgan comes back as, leading the kids to wonder if the burial ground differs depending on what someone was like prior to death, only to throw that out the window shortly afterwards!
Again, if they took the name Pet Sematary off this movie, it would have been more interesting, if not more fun. Cribbing off of a serious and thought-provoking horror story just for a cheap and frankly bizarre cash-in (I don’t think this movie was ever super big or popular) is just shameful, and especially when it comes from the same goddamn director of the original film.
The line “sometimes, dead is better” comes up, of course, and of course it’s twisted and stripped of its original meaning. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the filmmakers were playing it for laughs. At least when the makers of South Park did it, it was clear that they knew the source material and were trying to make a funny point. Maybe if you don’t want someone to do something unholy, you shouldn’t tell them about it and give them directions on how to get there.
Shame on you, Mary Lambert. Shame on whoever greenlit this majestic turd.
*Pictures belong to whoever. This movie isn’t worth crediting, but you know the drill. Not mine.