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Pet Sematary - Film Review

Pet Sematary (1989)

Director – Mary Lambert

Starring – Fred Gwynne, Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby and Miko Hughes.

This film, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, has been ranked as one of the best horror movies of all time. The author himself thought the story was his most terrifying. As I sat down to watch this for the first time, I did wonder.

Will it live up to the hype?

The film opens with the Creed family moving to Ludlow, Maine for a fresh start after Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) accepts the position to be the town's new doctor. The Creeds become close friends with neighbour Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) who, after the death of the family's cat Church, lets them in on a little town secret. Jud helps Louis bury the cat in an ancient Indian burial ground nearby known as "pet sematary", resulting in Church miraculously returning from the grave but with a change of personality. As the film progresses, another tragedy strikes the family and Louis, blinded by grief, decides to use the mysterious powers of the pet sematary once more, setting off a domino effect of never-ending horrors.

It is an interesting film which touches on people’s fear of death and grief. This film makes us think about how far we would be willing to go if given the chance to bring someone we love back. It is a heavy and heart-breaking story within itself but then throwing horror and suspense into the mix, you have one scary tale. The film's special effects, camera work and music are outstanding, it was a well-made film for its time. The pacing however, I felt it was rather slow. Around about the 40-minute mark, I began to wonder, “when does the scary stuff actually happen?”. The more I thought about the film, the more I came to realise you don’t need jump scares or creepy prosthetics to make this film scary. It’s the story itself that is frightening and what these characters experience throughout. The acting was outstanding and you could feel Louis’ pain and grief. It was heart-breaking to watch.

For me, I don’t think it lived up to its hype. It had been built up as this terrifying classic but I didn't think it was frightening. The story itself was scary as it represented grief and how we are controlled by it but the "horror" aspect was disappointing. Overall, I enjoyed the story, the amazing camera work and special effects. For this, I’m giving Pet Sematary an 8/10

Reviewed by Lynsey McLaughlin for Hellhound

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