‘Pet Sematary’ Remake Forgets That Sometimes, Dead Is Bettah

Oh Fred Gwynne, rest in peace.

I had wished the same for Paramount’s rumored plan to remake Pet Sematary (or re-adapt Stephen King’s novel if you prefer), and having not heard anything about the project for quite some time I figured the project was dead for good.

Silly me.

Per Total Film, Paramount has hired a writer for their unnecessary endeavor and he comes with some pre-existing King experience. Matt Greenberg is the scribe behind 1408, the haunted hotel room flick with John Cusack adapted from King’s short story, but he also includes Reign of Fire and Halloween H20 on his resume. His new script will be competing with the original film’s screenplay that was written by… King himself. Not that that’s a guaranteed sign of quality (King also wrote the hilarious Maximum Overdrive), but in this case the first Pet Sematary is actually damn good.

King’s novel follows the Creed family’s arrival in rural Maine and their misadventures with death and life that follow. Louis and Rachel Creed along with their two children move into a house that sits a bit closer to an ancient Indian burial ground than they would like… and when the family cat dies, Louis discovers the old cemetery has some peculiar resurrection powers. Peculiarly shoddy powers I should say. The cat comes back deranged and violent, and has to be put down with a shovel. But when Louis’ young son Gage dies a traumatic death right before his eyes he ignores the lesson of the undead cat and buries his son in the cursed soil. Terror, violence, and heartache ensue…

Mary Lambert’s 1989 film of the novel is an under-seen horror gem as far as I’m concerned. The acting is solid throughout, especially from Gwynne (as the neighbor who shares too much) and Miko Hughes as little Gage Creed. It’s a scary and at times emotionally devastating movie (and novel) and I really don’t see how it can be improved.

What do you think about a Pet Sematary remake? Have you seen the original?

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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