Author Topic: Pet Sematary (2018)  (Read 1169 times)

Pet Sematary (2018)
« on: April 05, 2019, 12:19:24 PM »
I recently rewatched the 1989 version with my partner and it had us absolutely hooting.  It’s naff as all get-out, some hilarious acting and the scares are often pathetic, but a very enjoyable watch.  With this remake, I had the impression that it’d probably be “better” overall - better acting, better pacing, better scares etc. - but less enjoyable, probably a bit too glum or ponderous for its own good.

Turns out it’s actually worse in every way.  There’s absolutely nothing interesting about it, and the plot changes are worthless at best, senseless and downright cynical at worst (changing it so the older kid dies instead of Gage, simply to allow for some generic “creepy kid” shite a toddler couldn’t pull off).  The ending is hilariously poor and misses the entire point of the story.  The characters are also bland as fuck, you really don’t care either way what happens to them, and John Lithgow’s rendition of Jud is underwritten and boring - especially when compared with Fred Gwynne’s genuinely bizarre performance in the 89 version.

Most importantly, I suppose - it’s just not fucking scary.  It’s a horror film, first and foremost, and yet the filmmakers are woefully inept at putting together a single creepy moment or frightening sequence.  Even horror films I don’t like usually have at least one or two half-decent spooks in them.  The most you’ll get are some trite jump-scares and an unbroken wall of spooky music.  The 1989 version is legitimately scarier.  We saw it in a fairly packed theater on preview night, and there wasn’t a stir from the audience except for occasional sniggering at unintentionally poor dialogue.

Shite.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 02:05:36 PM »
That's a real shame.  The book is my favourite of all King's work so I had high hopes for this since I heard about it getting greenlit.  But I kinda got a vibe from the trailers that it might be more a generic movie than the '80s version as only a couple of the shots raised much enthusiasm from me, then once I found out about the huge change they'd made to the Gage situation I got the feeling they'd really missed the point and sanded down even more of the source material's edges.

Are Zelda and Pascow at least half-interesting or done well at all?  Both of them are highlights of the old adaptation for me.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 02:09:28 PM »
It's gotten a funny mix of reviews, with some saying it's one of best King adaptations and others saying it's a bit cheap and nasty and cliched etc. I wasn't crazy about the first movie, although Fred Gwynne is one the most perfect pieces of casting ever... I loved the book btw.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 02:37:17 PM »
Are Zelda and Pascow at least half-interesting or done well at all?  Both of them are highlights of the old adaptation for me.

No.  Pascow is barely in it, only turning up once or twice to mutter a half-hearted “no, don’t do it, seriously”.  He has more or less no purpose in this adaptation.

Zelda, likewise, is reduced to a footnote - basically just used for a few crap jump-scares.  Somehow a lot less frightening than the 1989 version too.  They’ve also done away with Jud’s wife, except for bizarrely seeming to imply he’d murdered her at the end.

It’s a poor adaptation which completely misses the point of the book/original, which isn’t exactly hard to get, so it stands to reason that these characters would be reduced to their creepy-trailer-image potential..  It’s basically a film about nothing, whereas the source material has a fair amount to say about grief and remorse and desperation.  In this film, Louis just kind of bumbles his way through everything until the staggeringly silly finale.  You never get a moment of reflection or doubt or even anxiety, really.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 02:44:34 PM »
I also adore the book (not saying much,as King is the only author I give two hoots about), I never considered this title as the most worthy of adaptation, amongst his works. Seems a strange choice.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 02:53:10 PM »
It feels like it was intended to be a much longer film that somewhere got cut to 90 minutes. So much stuff feels rushed, there's no room for the characters to breathe and no relationships feel genuine. What you're left with is a film that feels like the kinds of mess of logic of certain weaker Euro-horrors of the 1970s.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2019, 02:59:25 PM »
I loved how cheesy and weird the originals were but this looks all serious and there are kids with masks, oooh scary!

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2019, 03:50:40 PM »
No.  Pascow is barely in it, only turning up once or twice to mutter a half-hearted “no, don’t do it, seriously”.  He has more or less no purpose in this adaptation.

Zelda, likewise, is reduced to a footnote - basically just used for a few crap jump-scares.  Somehow a lot less frightening than the 1989 version too.  They’ve also done away with Jud’s wife, except for bizarrely seeming to imply he’d murdered her at the end.

This makes me think it would have been better served as a mini-series like 11.22.63.  Even the '89 version, as much as I like it, felt like some of the elements were a bit rushed or glossed-over to fit the runtime without being dropped completely.  I remember really enjoying the 3-hour BBC radio adaptation which is probably the most faithful to the book, it's available here for anyone interested:
https://archive.org/details/PetCemeteryByStephenKing

St_Eddie

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2019, 12:59:43 AM »
'From the Producers of It' told me all that I need to know.

EDIT: Actually, I'm not sure that is the same producer.  I might be getting muddled up with the upcoming Child's Play remake, as is my stupid brain's won't to do.  That being the case, this new adaptation of Pet Sematary will be the best film ever made.  Objectively.  Producers are the true artists.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 01:11:50 AM by St_Eddie »

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2019, 01:20:25 AM »
...John Lithgow’s rendition of Jud is underwritten and boring...

The worst part is that he doesn't attempt to do a stupid but brilliant New Maine accent.  Unforgivable.

"Sometimes deeeead is beatta".

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2019, 01:22:51 AM »
Negative reviews tend to say something to the effect of "if you were hoping for another It, THINK AGAIN".  Suit yourselves, I thought the new It was shite an' all.  But yeah, Pet Sematary is probably a bit worse.  Stephen King's just happy to be collecting the cash at this point, I reckon.

But it's also yet another case of giddy SXSW festival critics heaping insane amounts of praise onto a horror film, only for it to be underwhelmingly received on actual release.  Look at the sheer disparity between reviews from a few weeks ago to now.

The worst part is that he doesn't attempt to do a stupid but brilliant New Maine accent.  Unforgivable.

"Sometimes dead is beatta".

My partner and I have been quoting him ever since rewatching a couple of weeks ago.  I can't say the word "road" (ro-awwwwd) any other way now.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2019, 01:36:08 AM »
Gotta have the creepy masks.  Gotta have creepy masks and jumpscares.  Gotta.

2019.  Horror is dead.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2019, 01:37:55 AM »
Gotta have the creepy masks.  Gotta have creepy masks and jumpscares.  Gotta.

2019.  Horror is dead.

Here's the thing - and it's not really a spoiler:  all that shite in the trailer with the kids walking around with scary masks.  Yeah, that is just for the trailer.  There are a bunch of shots in this film which you know were just for the trailer.  This movie exists only to sell itself.  They know nobody will actually like it.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2019, 01:42:13 AM »
Negative reviews tend to say something to the effect of "if you were hoping for another It, THINK AGAIN".

So it's good then?

Snarf snarf.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2019, 11:51:13 PM »
Here's the thing - and it's not really a spoiler:  all that shite in the trailer with the kids walking around with scary masks.  Yeah, that is just for the trailer.  There are a bunch of shots in this film which you know were just for the trailer.  This movie exists only to sell itself.  They know nobody will actually like it.
Also pretty much the only scene that would've been good unexpected and shocking in it was the stairs knife to the ankle bit that was ruined in the trailer

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2019, 02:15:16 AM »
Saw it tonight... there are a couple of decent scenes and atmospheric bits but it feels a bit rushed and functional... some of the dialogue is a bit clunky and it could have been done with a little bit more subtle. It just kind of gets down to business and isn't allowed to 'breathe'... they definitely could have fleshed out Louis and Jud's friendship a bit more, for example. Ah well.

Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2019, 03:32:03 AM »
Jud in the ‘89 version is kind of funny in how expositional he is (South Park even used him parodically to deliver some exposition in a few episodes), but amidst all that you did get the impression that he’d become good friends with Louis and cemented himself in the family’s life.  In this version, he really is just there to gruffly deliver some exposition and has zero personality — purely functional.  It doesn’t help that the appalling pacing makes it seem as though the entire story takes place over the course of a few days.

His death in the original, whilst comically bad, had a bit of an impact, whereas in this one it felt like a mere obligation. Their attempt to seed some sort of trouble with his dead wife was baffling and nonsensical, regardless of your familiarity with the source.  It makes a little more sense when you read interviews with the filmmakers suggesting they want to do a prequel if this does well financially.  Fucksake.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2019, 10:18:06 PM »
I couldn't believe how slight this felt. Once the set-up was over and done with (and the grief/decision to revive the daughter/him actually doing it, basically felt like a montage), it shambles very quickly to an end. As has been said, there's little there between the characters. John Lithgow does a hell of a lot of heavy lifting by being very lovely - without his charm, there's nothing there, and Jud actually comes off like a fucking idiot. The implication at the end that he buried his wife up there pretty much renders his character the thickest person alive.

I could definitely see there being a longer film that existed at one point. The film seems to gesture at themes and character beats that are pretty much absent. And as has been said, the spooky Wicker Man kids are a proper bullshit trailer-tease.

Glebe

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2019, 09:03:56 PM »
Oh yeah, anyone else feel that the doorway in Louis' dream was a bit of a nod to The Dark Tower?. Oh yeah, and the 'Derry' road sign... that is all.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2019, 03:53:05 PM »
Finally got round to seeing this, on my birthday, having watched the 1989 original the night before.

What a bland, anaemic non-event of an underwhelm that was.

I may be slightly odd in that I frequently prefer horror remakes. The Naughties 'Hills Have Eyes' pissed all over the original. Cronenburg's Fly likewise. But this was fucking shit.

It's as if the iconic, memorable elements of the original (Jud and Zelda specifically) were deliberately removed and replaced by generic alternatives. Oh, and laboured attempts to make the audience quaking in fear at a dumb-waiter. Without 'Down that raoud', it's not Pet Semetary.

My favourite bit was the subliminal flash-frame of the 1989 Zelda in one of the flashback sequences. And I'm not convinced that wasn't just me imagining it!

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2019, 05:14:18 PM »
My favourite bit was the subliminal flash-frame of the 1989 Zelda in one of the flashback sequences. And I'm not convinced that wasn't just me imagining it!


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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2019, 08:32:16 PM »
Sake.

Largely agree with everyone here. Waste of time.

Saying that, it was kind of halfway alright for a while. Halfway alright. From a distance. Looking at it from a distance you’d say well, it’s alright, really. Kind of. As Stephen King films go, it’s fine, more or less. For a while. Then it crashes headfirst into itself and it’s a long way down that it falls immediately after. Wasn’t that very high in the first place, yet it seems to just keep falling and falling. Topples down well down past the 0 and on down through the minuses at a mind-boggling pelt, careering down so deep with such speed that it seems like it’s going to be appearing in the sky up above again any second.

The peak, if you can call it that, is the first glimpse of Dead Wean Returned. That I have to say I found genuinely frightening. The reveal of the look of her. Wee girl corpse face in the half light. Bloated a bit and off colour and one eye’s too far down her cheek. Sort of odd kind of mid-transformation Toxic Avenger vibe. I leapt backwards on the sofa when I saw her. Had to cover my face with stuff near to hand. Something about it. Something uncanny. Creeped me out.

She’s never remotely scary ever again, and her face seems to right itself in the space of a scene or so, but for a very brief period it’s proper unsettling, what she looks like.

From then on the film is truly awful. It wasn’t great to begin with but by Jesus the first half hour is a marvel compared to the last.

I quite liked that the procession of youngsters in masks only appeared the once and never again, I like that they didn’t tell us very much about those youngsters or why they felt compelled to tramp through the woods looking like that or where they had learned it or what purpose it served or what they do when they reach the Sematary itself or if there are adults who tramp through the woods looking similarly critter-headed or if there ever have been. Never really told us any of that. Not a whole lot of explanation. As such, it has the distinction of being the one mildly intriguing thing that happens that they didn’t fuck up two minutes later. There’s only one thing like that in the whole film, and that’s it. I wish they’d approached Victor Pascow the same way. Whatever combination of CGI and prosthetics it was that went into creating Victor Pascow’s battered up skull, it worked. He looked suitably grotesque, and the first scene with him in it is decent enough. They should have left it at that. Victor Pascow should never have left the hospital in this adaptation. They should never have brought him back. Sometimes dead is better. 

The staging of the Gage / Ellie switch is so cynical and callous that I actually guffawed when it happened. Sort of dangling Dead Gage in front of us for a bit then whipping him away just in time for a load of Digi-Lorry to crash into Ellie. Something very fucked up about how it plays with the promise of a dead toddler, that scene. How the punchline is “Different Dead Child.”

That’s about it for me as far as the less bad stuff goes. The rest is annoying and frustrating and tedious and stupid. Zelda crashing down a chute to die on top of her supper was an absolute arsehole. Dead Wean was prodigiously crap, in the end. The last scene… I’m thinking that they had more of The Mist in their minds than Pet Sematary but regardless it’s crippled by the fact that by that point in proceedings there’s surely nobody left alive who gives a flying bald man’s fuck for Pet Sematary (2018) or anything that goes on in it.

Like Noodle Lizard I watched Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation recently too, first time seeing it since I was a youngster. I think it’s a bit better than Pet Sematary (2018). I love the early scenes when they’ve just moved in and Jud is sort of inching into the picture and the woods are out there hissing in the darkness. There’s a wyrd old magic in the air for a while. Strange sort of wryd old magic clinging to the grain. It’s atmospheric in a way that the new one most certainly is not. For a time, at least.

It’s also, as Noodles says, ludicrous. Jud reminds me so much of Derek at times that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Gervais modelled his entire performance on Fred Gwynne’s turn here. Scene where he’s sat in the kitchen warning Intense Daddy Big-Hair not to be thinking no rum old thoughts. “Sometimes dead is better.” The underbite and the movements of the mouth and the eyes glancing up at the ceiling every couple beats. Derek looking at you.

Some Strangelove-level stuff going on elsewhere. “It’s your son’s funeral! Get a hold of yourself, please!”

Lots of ridiculous stuff of this stock strewn about it, some of it deriving from Stephen King’s screenplay (“I’m gonna bust you out, son!”), some of it the work of the actors or the effects crew or whoever. Intense Daddy Big-Hair’s thoroughly unconvincing graveside breakdown. His wrestling with the similarly dubious Gage puppet that falls on top of him out the attic shortly after. Couple quality “Noooooooooooooooooo!”s. Some crowd-pleasing bumping of heads off of furniture or walls. Grown up heads and the heads of children. Bumping the bit out on stuff.

This sort of thing.

Mary Lambert would have been working on the video for Madonna’s Like A Prayer around the same time, and it’s easy enough to see in this some of what she got up to there, if you want to see it. Subversive sort of playing about with certain tenets of Christian belief and iconography. Notions surrounding resurrection and the like. “Suffer little children” and what have you. The Son. All of this.

But. The ground is sour-our-our-our.

Just before Dead Wife comes back, compete with by far the best and most horrific make-up to be seen anywhere in the film, Jud is heard on the soundtrack saying “what you own always comes home to you.” I’ve thought about that on and off for a few days and I still don’t know how to read it, the placement of that particular line at that particular point. Dunno how much irony there is at work. I haven’t figured it out. There’s definitely a sarcastic sense of humour on evidence here and there. The Ramones blasting out of the speakers at the end, laughing at you, almost. The trucker bopping along to Sheena Is A Punk Rocker just before he crashes into Gage. They’re ready to go, now. The kids. Or just one of them.     

Anyway, neither film is much use but the 1989 one is the one to watch if you’re going to watch any.

Errol Morris’s take on the material is on YouTube. You could always watch that instead. Werner Herzog famously ate his shoe over the head of it. He should have eaten Pet Sematary (2018) while he was at it.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2019, 01:39:07 AM »
Is it better or worse than the previous version, though?  It's toss, the older film was toss, and the book was toss.  Maybe this wasn't a project that should have been attempted.

Also, don't do bloody Cujo.  You know it's coming.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2019, 03:40:44 AM »
Also, don't do bloody Cujo.  You know it's coming.

That was on ITV4 or summit the other night. Hadn't seen it in years. Read the book yonks ago.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2019, 03:55:48 PM »
Is it better or worse than the previous version, though?

The general consensus (including from DukeDeMondo) is that the original adaptation is the better film.  In fact, I've not encountered a single person who preferred the new adaptation (though I have come across a few people who, while preferring the original on the whole, thought that the new version did a few individual aspects better).

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2019, 03:59:10 PM »
Even if it were up there with The Thing & The Fly when it came to inspired horror remakes, the lack of a Ramones theme song would make it technically inferior.

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Re: Pet Sematary (2018)
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2019, 05:05:10 PM »