Pet Sematary (2019 film)
Pet Sematary is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler, from a screen story by Matt Greenberg. It is the second adaptation of the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King, after the 1989 film. The film stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, and follows a family that discovers a mysterious graveyard in the woods behind their new home.
Theatrical release poster
|Screenplay by||Jeff Buhler|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||Sarah Broshar|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$112.4 million|
Talks for a new adaptation of Pet Sematary began in March 2010, with Greenberg initially writing the screenplay. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider were revealed to be producing the remake with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo in talks to direct it. By December 2017, Paramount Pictures had greenlit the new version of King's novel, with duo filmmakers Kölsch and Widmyer directing. Principal photography commenced on June 18, 2018, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and wrapped on August 11, 2018.
The film premiered at South by Southwest festival on March 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2019. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the dark tone, atmosphere and performances, but disliked the slow pacing and reliance on jump scares. Critics and audiences were both divided on the changes between the film and book, though many named it better than the 1989 adaptation.
Louis Creed, a doctor from Boston, Massachusetts moves to the small town of Ludlow, Maine with his wife Rachel, their two young children, Ellie and Gage, and Ellie's cat, Church. Exploring the woods, Ellie stumbles across a funeral procession of children taking a deceased dog to a cemetery called Pet Sematary. Jud Crandall, their neighbor, warns them that the woods are dangerous.
At the university hospital, Louis is left shaken after failing to save the life of Victor Pascow, a student who was fatally injured after being struck by a vehicle. He later experiences a vivid dream in which Victor Pascow leads him to the back of the cemetery and warns him not to "venture beyond." Louis awakens to find his feet and bed sheets caked in mud, suggesting that the events were more than just a nightmare.
On Halloween, Church is killed by a truck. Jud takes Louis to the Pet Sematary, then farther to an ancient burial ground to bury Church. The next day, Louis is stunned when Church returns home alive, although he is more aggressive, violently ripping open a bird. Jud tells Louis that the burial ground brings things back from the dead and is believed to be inhabited by a spirit known as the Wendigo. After Church attacks Gage, Louis attempts to euthanize him. However, he decides against killing the cat and instead sets him free.
During her birthday party, Ellie spots Church on the road and rushes to him, but she is killed in an accident with a large tanker truck. The family is devastated by her death, and Rachel and Gage leave to spend a few days with Rachel's parents. Jud, sensing that Louis is planning on resurrecting Ellie, warns the grieving father that "sometimes dead is better". Despite warnings from him and Pascow's spirit, Louis's grief and guilt spur him to carry out his plan. He drugs Jud, exhumes Ellie's body, and buries her in the burial ground of the Pet Sematary as the Wendigo watches. Ellie comes back from the dead but manifests a disturbing demeanor. At her parents' house, Rachel is frightened by visions of her dead sister Zelda, who suffered from spinal meningitis and died after falling down a dumbwaiter shaft. Gage also sees the ghost of Victor Pascow. Jud wakes up and confronts Louis. He spots Ellie and flees to his house in horror, retrieving a pistol to kill her. However, as he is distracted by a growling Church, Ellie slices through Jud's Achilles tendon with a scalpel. She briefly takes the form of Jud's dead wife, Norma, suggesting Norma and Ellie are suffering and burning in a damned afterlife, before stabbing Jud to death, while Church looks on.
Rachel and Gage return home and meet the undead Ellie. Rachel is horrified and Louis tells her about the burial ground and its purpose. Rachel is stabbed by Ellie but manages to escape to the bathroom with Gage. Louis finds Jud's body and is able to save Gage as Ellie fatally stabs Rachel. He locks Gage in the car and hurries to Rachel, who begs him not to bury her in the Pet Sematary. Ellie knocks Louis unconscious and drags Rachel's body to the burial ground. Louis runs for the Pet Sematary. Ellie ambushes him and they engage in a frenzied fight. As Louis prepares to decapitate Ellie with a shovel, he is impaled with a weather vane by a reanimated Rachel, and he too is buried. Along with Church, the trio sets fire to Jud's house before approaching the car where Gage sits inside. The resurrected Louis gestures to Gage to unlock the door.
Louis spares Ellie instead of killing her, and they both bury Rachel, to her horror, behind the Pet Sematary, promising that they will be a family together forever. After burning Jud's house, Louis and Ellie approach the family car, where Gage is still locked up. He gestures to Gage to open the car, which Gage does. In the house, Ellie, Church and a newly resurrected Rachel approach and reunite with Louis holding Gage, who is crying in fear.
- Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed
- Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed (born Goldman)
- Sonia Maria Chirila as Young Rachel
- John Lithgow as Jud Crandall
- Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed
- Hugo & Lucas Lavoie as Gage Creed
- Obssa Ahmed as Victor Pascow
- Alyssa Brooke Levine as Zelda Goldman
- Suzy Stingl as Norma Crandall
- Maria Herrera as Marcela
- Jacob Lemieux as "Mouse Face"
- Maverick Fortin as "Dog Face"
- Lou Ferrando as "Rabbit Face"
- Najya Muipatayi as "Cat Face"
- Emma Hill as "Horse Face"
- Leo, Tonic, Jager and JD as Church the Cat
On March 5, 2010, it was announced that Paramount Pictures was developing a new adaptation of Stephen King's novel Pet Sematary, and that Matt Greenberg had been hired to write the screenplay. He later only received "screen story" credit. On October 31, 2013, it was reported that Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider would serve as producers for the production, and that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was in talks to direct.
On October 30, 2017, it was announced that Paramount Pictures had officially greenlit the film, which was expected to be directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler and David Kajganich (the latter went uncredited). Aside from Di Bonaventura and Schneider, Mark Vahradian also produced.
On April 16, 2018, it was announced that Jason Clarke had been cast in the lead role of Louis Creed. On May 4, 2018, it was reported John Lithgow had joined the cast in the role of Jud Crandall.
In June 2018, it was announced that Amy Seimetz would have the film's lead female role, Rachel Creed, along with Jeté Laurence as Creed's daughter Ellie and twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie as Creed's son Gage.
In October 2018, it was reported that Obssa Ahmed had been added as college student Victor Pascow, and Alyssa Brooke Levine as Zelda Goldman. Zelda was previously portrayed by stuntman Andrew Hubatsek, in the 1989 film.
The film was originally going to be released on April 19, 2019, but was moved two weeks from its original release date of April 19, 2019 to April 5, 2019. On October 10, 2018, the film's first trailer was released, followed by a 3D photo posted November 1, 2018, through Facebook's 3D photo function. The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 16, 2019.
Pet Sematary grossed $54.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $57.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $112.4 million, against a production budget of $21 million.
In the United States and Canada, Pet Sematary was released alongside Shazam! and The Best of Enemies, and was projected to gross $20–30 million from 2,500 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $2.3 million from Thursday night previews. It then grossed $10 million on its first day, including previews. It went on to debut to $25 million, finishing second, behind Shazam!. The film fell 59% in its second weekend to $10 million, finishing fourth, and then made $4.9 million in its third weekend, finishing seventh.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 57% based on 242 reviews, with an average rating of 5.95/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Pet Sematary takes its source material in a few different directions, but this remake feels like an exhuming almost as often as it does a revival." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 66% and a 47% "definite recommend".
In March 2019, producer Di Bonaventura stated that a prequel to the film is possible if the film is a success financially, saying,
"I generally don't start thinking about [sequels] until they're a success. I think if there's anything here, there's a prequel. I think if you look at the book, we didn't cover all that stuff that happens before the Creed family moves in. So, I think there's a movie there, and I think I'd be particularly interested in doing that, because, again, it's the source material and you are going toward something that also has a lot of crazy, creepy feelings about it."
In April 2019, directors Kölsch and Widmyer ruled themselves out of returning, saying,
"If you were going to be more, you'd probably do backstory stuff. [...] I'd be really interested to see how somebody would do a sequel to this movie. It probably won't be us."
In May 2019, screenwriter Buhler stated that there had been preliminary discussions on a continuation, saying,
"So a lot of the ideas that we've been batting around currently, recently, have all been about, more about digging into the mythology of the town, these rituals that children present, the mythology of the Micmac, the Wendigo, the cemetery, the origins, Jud's life. So it looks like, I don't want to promise anything, because we don't know, we're not even down the road on an idea yet."
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