Monday, 19 November 2012

Pet Sematary

"Pet Sematary" (1989, Mary Lambert, Paramount Pictures) is an excellent film based on the novel by Stephen King, about a cemetery which can bring the dead back to 'life'.

I saw this movie when I was 16 and I cried my eyes out at it! Seriously! And then I read the book this year (after finally getting over my fear of reading it) and guess what? Yep, I cried my eyes out all over again! On the bus to work at 6am, no less. Every day for a week! You can imagine what my colleagues were thinking!

Anyway, I can now watch the film without the aid of tissues. See, the story is so sad! And after reading King's explanation of his inspiration for the plot, I can see why it must have been a traumatic book for him to write! (Basically, he moved into the house pretty much described in the novel and almost lived the events of it! And being Stephen King, he drew on the aspect of the creepy little pet cemetery which was nearby).

A truly chilling tale, even for childless and free-living me, this film (and the novel, too), not only plays on the gory deaths, ghosts, 'zombies' and creepy woods, but also on the basic human instinct to protect the things and the ones we love. Can anyone really blame Louis for his actions?

Well, to cut a long story short, Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) finds his idyllic life in the Maine countryside with his wife Rachel (Denise Crosby), daughter Ellie (Blaze Berdhall) and baby son Gage (Miko Hughes),  is turned upside down by a tragic accident. Accidentally given way too much inspiration by friendly and lonely old neighbour, Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne - yes, Mr. Munster himself!), Louis sees there is only one solution to his terrible predicament! Of course, it will totally work out fine and no one will get hurt at all! Yup....

This film isn't long at only 98mins, and keeps your attention very well. Just like in the book, you begin to like some of the characters, and you enjoy the little happy family scenes. It lulls you in to a sense of happiness before it brings in the horror, and that's what makes the plot work. You experience the shock and the slow build up of dread with the characters almost in a 'real time' way.

Of course, there's some jolts to keep you interested along the way. Some brutal deaths, gory ghosts, scary babies and a pretty unfriendly cat to mention a few. This film had me upset as a teen, and I appreciate it for that. While it's not jump-out-of-your-seat scary, it's creepy and has some excellent gore scenes that still give me the shudders now!

Definitely one of the best King adaptations, he wrote the screenplay, and it shows! It follows the book's plot faithfully. The only thing I think I missed in comparison to the book is some of the character development. Louis isn't as rounded a character, and you don't get the lovely bonding scenes between the old man and young man. But I've never found a film that could convey as much as a good story can, and I think this film is fantastic! It's most certainly worth your time!

[Image: Paramount Pictures]

"Sometimes, dead is better!"