Pet Sematary isn’t a great film by any means, yet it just wont die. I can’t tell you how often I still hear people impersonating the ominous warnings of Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). If you’ve watched any South Park in the last five years you know what I’m talking about. “You outta not go into the Pet Sematary.” I don’t even know if he actually says that, it’s just the way he delivers his warnings. Jud Crandall has somehow become the official model for creepy old men who try to steer you away from evil. But that’s not the only thing people remember. I don’t think anyone has ever walked away from Pet Sematary without first thinking about their Achilles tendon.
Based off of Stephen King’s 1983 novel, Pet Sematary is about a family of four who’ve just moved to an idyllic Maine community. They befriend neighbor Jud Crandall who tells them about a nearby pet cemetery built over an Indian burial ground (Now that’s how you make small talk!) Later, the family takes a trip leaving the father Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) by himself. While his wife and kids are gone the family cat is hit by a truck outside the house. So Louis buries it where? In the pet cemetery or “Pet Sematary” according to the sign misspelled by local children. Blatantly ignoring Jud’s warning, the cat mysteriously comes back to life… But it’s not the same. The cat reeks of decomposition and has become a vicious shell of it’s former self. You’d think Louis would have learned his lesson from this, but oh no.
Tragedy strikes again when the Creed’s young son Gage (Miko Hughes) is hit by a truck on the same road the cat was hit. Does Louis give him a proper burial? No, of course not, he buries him in the Pet Sematary. This leads to Gage becoming a murderous zombie-like monster. So zombie Gage kills Jud Crandall, but not before he slices Jud’s achilles tendon.. Eww shutter, I can’t even think about that scene. Things get even worse when Gage murders his own mother Rachel (Denise Crosby). Does Louis give her a proper burial? Of course not. Louis says he put Gage in the cemetery for too long and this time he can do it right. Does it work out? Of course not! Everybody dies.
Pet Sematary is a good adaptation of King’s novel, probably because King wrote the screenplay himself. The problem is the execution is cheesy and melodramatic. It simply never rises above your typical 80s horror movie. It has some memorable moments no question, but as a whole it’s definitely on the lesser end of King’s book-to-movie adaptations.