Pet Sematary (2019) 4K
The latest Stephen King adaptation, a remake of Pet Sematary arrives on 4K Ultra HD/blu-ray this week, bringing chills and bonus features to explore. Is the new take on the classic story worth picking up, or should it remain buried? Check out my full review to see what I thought!
Despite being on more and more of a horror kick these days (and having enjoyed the original film), I missed out on Pet Sematary in theaters. The trailers had me curious with how they were changing things up while still keeping the heart of the story intact. So when I had the chance to check out the 4K release, I jumped on it.
By and large the new film does a fairly decent job of sticking to the plot points of the book. The Creed family, looking for a change of pace move out to the country from their home in Chicago. Louis has taken a job as a physician at the University of Maine, that allows him the chance to enjoy more “traditional” hours to spend time with his family.
The large house they’ve bought out in the country sits on a gorgeous plot of land...that just so happens to include a creepy cemetery for pets. Beyond that, however, is something far more sinister; an ancient burial ground that harbors a deadly secret.
Things seem fine at first as the family begins to settle in, even befriending an elderly neighbor, Jud, in the process. When Ellie’s (their daughter) beloved cat Church is accidentally killed on the road, Jud shows Louis the secret behind the Pet Sematary, which has the ability to bring things back from the dead. It’s very clear, however, that things don’t come back the same.
When tragedy strikes and Ellie is killed (the film’s biggest departure from the original is to kill off the older daughter rather than the younger son), Louis’ grief causes him to do something drastic. When Ellie returns from the dead, it’s immediately apparent that this isn’t the daughter he loved, and it’s not long before killings start happening.
On the whole, the basic idea of the book/original film are kept in tact, but there’s more of a modern spin on it. The changes to the story, however, aren’t the films problem (I really liked the changes made). The problem is the film decides to play it safe as a by-the-numbers style horror film. It lacks all of the character subtext that makes the original story more of a psychological horror film, which ultimately robs the film of any emotional connection.
The pacing also feels strange, in that so much time is spent setting things up, that barely any time is given over to the meat of the story when Ellie is resurrected. By the time that happens, we’re already well into the final act and the film is rushing to the end of the story. It’s strange because that’s also when it seems to lose any sense of being scary.
Pet Sematary starts strong, but the cracks begin to show midway through. It’s made all the worse with a very frustrating ending that comes up way to fast. Seriously, both my girlfriend (a diehard horror fan who loves the original) and I were dumbfounded when the credits began rolling. Sure there are some solid jump scares in there, and solid visual work, but it fails to serve the story in any meaningful way.
Sight and Sound
The 4K transfer on Pet Sematary is pretty impressive. The image is sharp and crisp throughout, delivering on a clarity that highlights the beauty of the countryside, and the twisted horrors as well. The blacks are super deep, making those nighttime sequences in the “sematary” itself stand out in all their creepy glory.
The surround sound delivers a quality experience as well. The sounds of the forest at night makes it feel truly alive as you’re put right in the middle of it. All in all, the technical side of the release is impressive and does a great job highlighting the better elements of the movie.
The Bonus Features
Pet Sematary on 4K Ultra HD includes digital copy of the film along with a blu-ray copy that contains all of the film’s special features:
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Night Terrors – Family Haunting Visions
The Tale of Timmy Baterman
Beyond the Deadfall
o Chapter One: Resurrection – Directors, screenwriters and cast discuss bringing this classic back to life
o Chapter Two: The Final Resting Place—A deeper look into finding the right location for the terror to unfold
o Chapter Three: The Road to Sorrow— Inside the film’s tragic themes and creating the iconic cat “Church”
o Chapter Four: Death Comes home—Unearth the creepy elements behind the climax and final scenes of the film
Overall, the bonus features are pretty darn decent. The four-part feature, Beyond the Deadfall, offers up some great behind the scenes information and interviews. The deleted scenes are pretty fun, but I was very eager to check out the film’s alternate ending.
If you’ve already watched the film, the alternate ending this time around seems MUCH closer to the original ending of the film/book. While it’s still not a “happy” ending by any stretch of the imagination, I think it actually works a bit better than what they went with. Not that it fixes any of the other problems, but it’s a nice extra to include.