Author Topic: Pet Sematary (2018)  (Read 706 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.

Glebe

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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

Glebe

  • So here we are, then.
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.

BritishHobo

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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.