(US - 2019)
Directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. Written by Jeff Buhler. Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Levine, Frank Schorpion, Sonia Maria Chirila, Suzi Stingl. (R, 101 mins)
Stephen King has long considered his 1983 novel Pet Sematary his scariest work. It was certainly his darkest to that point, so much so that he sat on it for a few years, feeling he'd "gone too far this time." A hit movie version arrived in 1989 after several years in development, including a period where George A. Romero was attached to direct. It was ultimately helmed by music video vet Mary Lambert (best known for several of Madonna's most popular videos of the era), with King writing the screenplay himself and being an on-set presence to ensure that it was being done properly. Of course, King took liberties in streamlining the transition from page to screen, and while it had some flaws and it's certainly no CARRIE, THE SHINING, MISERY, or THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, it remains on the side of the better King adaptations, especially when held up against the likes of, say, 1990's GRAVEYARD SHIFT, 1995's THE MANGLER, 2016's CELL, or 2017's THE DARK TOWER. King adaptations never really stopped being a thing, but the blockbuster success of 2017's IT seems to have kickstarted a resurgence in their major studio viability, which has led to another go at PET SEMATARY. King didn't have anything to do with this new version, which was scripted by Jeff Buhler (THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, THE PRODIGY), who rewrote an initial treatment by Matt Greenberg, who had some experience adapting King in the past, having written 2008's 1408 and 2014's straight-to-DVD MERCY, based on King's short story "Gramma." It's directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the team behind 2014's STARRY EYES, one of many wildly overpraised indie horror films deemed "an instant classic" until something else came out the next week.
|Poster for the 1989 version