Pet Sematary 1.0 stars

Pet Sematary movie poster

All the elements are there for a genuinely horrifying (as opposed to simply startling) movie: heck, two or three horrifying movies. You’ve got your woman traumatized by her youth spent caring for a hideously crippled sister who hated her. You’ve got your little girl struggling to understand why the cat she loved more than anything in the world has suddenly turned nasty — evil, even. You’ve got your old codger carrying a dark secret from his past. And you’ve got your bereaved parent, so twisted by his pain that he can no longer distinguish right from terribly, terribly wrong. But directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer spend waaaay too much time going for tension-building walks through creepy places and not nearly enough developing the stories that would have made this Stephen King adaption put the screws to the soul. Hint: when you have to have a character announce the central theme — “That place gets in your mind and feeds on your grief!” — instead of making the audience actually feel those things, you’re doing it wrong. Happily, there aren’t nearly so many jump scares as there might have been, and the opening shot is pretty great, and there’s some good work in the sound and visuals department. But it’s still a miss. 2019.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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