PET SEMATARY – Review by Susan Granger

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Recently relocated from Boston, Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and Louis (Jason Clarke) Creed are young parents who want their children – eight year-old Ellie (Jete Lawrence) and two year-old Gage (twins Hugo & Lucas Lavoie) – to live a quieter suburban life in rural Ludlow, Maine.

While exploring the forested area behind her new home, which is all-too-close to a busy highway, curious Ellie discovers a macabre place where, for generations, local kids have buried their pets. That’s where she meets an amiable neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), a widower who soon becomes a friend of the family.

Soon, Louis, a thoughtful physician, is experiencing nightmares that somehow evoke the memory of one of his patients who died. It’s Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmedi), who warns” “The ground is sour.” Naturally, Louis doesn’t relate that to his wife Rachel, who is still guilt-ridden about a sick, disfigured sister who died young.

When Ellie’s beloved Churchill, a Maine coon cat, dies, Jud shows Louis a particular hilltop where dead creatures miraculously come back to life. Problem is: after a ritual rebirth, they’re not exactly the way they were before. The transformation has something to do with Native American mythology and a beast called the windigo.

But Ellie, who didn’t know that Churchill died, realizes something is amiss. Her furry feline friend has changed! Eventually, as Jud duly notes, “Sometimes dead is better.”

Adapting Stephen King’s 1983 best-selling horror novel, screenwriter Jeff Buhler and co-directors Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer (“Starry Eyes”) devote little time to character development, preferring, instead, to press ahead with the various plot points, augmented by far-too-many jump scares and gross-out special effects, along with a senselessly altered ending.

FYI: Much of King’s novel was inspired by real events, including the near-death of his son Owen on a busy road near their Maine home and the death of his daughter’s cat Smucky.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pet Sematary” is a frightening 5, a blood-drenched nightmare.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.