Pet Sematary (1989)

A textbook case on building atmospheric supernatural horror with clever but haphazard reflection on death, afterlife, grief, & divinity, PS is a dark tale – erratically-paced & very undercooked, but unmistakably Stephen King. 6.5/10.

Dr. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Most Memorable Moment: 1. Church’s return, 2. Opening credits burial cinematography, 3. Micmac burial ground, 4. Gage and the truck – stunning escalation,

Pros: Unsettling opening credits teasing something sinister about graves of beloved and innocent pets complete with an equally disturbing and unsettling score throughout the film, good cinematography and set-up especially in the cemetery itself architecturally, fine acting overall especially Jud and Dr. Louis, groundbreaking idea of the horror kids feel when they lost attachment to their beloved pets by a mind only as sinister and genius an author as Stephen King’s, strong make-up especially for the time period, eerie atmospheric horror masterfully built up in textbook grand old-world supernatural fashion, some strong jump scares like Church’s return, phenomenal script tackling esoterica like the meaning of death, grief and how we process/deal with it, the afterlife, and divine power (why does God let tragedies happen if he’s all-powerful and all-good?), and the afterlife as well as heartful in its exploration and development of its characters, unbelievable tension building paid off when it hits its climaxes like the truck tragedy and backstory reveals, chilling finale grand in horror fashion as good and even blowing away most modern supernatural horror films, no need for excessive gore, pacing can be erratic but is swift in the finale, finale cliffhanger on Louis’ insanity respectfully going against the grain and common movie expectations of the character losing his lesson

Cons: Pacing erratic at times especially in the slow middle, of course the plot problem: why don’t they just put up a speed limit sign or trap stopping the truckers and thus this whole issue – would never be allowed in a residential area either, Gage final appearance a bit underwhelming – should’ve had way better and scarier make-up and abilities/not gone down as ~wimpily crying, needed more development and backstory on the grounds’ signifance, where it came from, why things go wrong, etc.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10