MOVIE REVIEW | Lots of scares, no emotion

Dead is better: John Lithgow plays the iconic Stephen King character Jud Crandall in the 2019 reincarnation of Pet Sematary. Picture: Kerry Hayes
Dead is better: John Lithgow plays the iconic Stephen King character Jud Crandall in the 2019 reincarnation of Pet Sematary. Picture: Kerry Hayes

Misery, It, Stand By Me, Carrie and Pet Sematary are some of the most iconic screen adaptions of Stephen King's work.

So when it was announced that Pet Sematary would be reincarnated King's fans had their usual hang-ups about the idea.

On this occasion, King's fans were right to be concerned.

The story starts with the Creed family moving to the small town of Ludlow, Maine.

Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz, You're Next), children Ellie (Jete Laurence, The Snowman) and Gage (Hugo Lavoie) and their beloved cat Church move into an idyllic farmhouse surrounded by dense forest.

The house seems like a wholesome place to raise a family but the woods hide a dark secret.

Ellie discovers that the forest is home to a pet "sematary" where locals lay their animals to rest. 

The cemetery is bordered by a large wall made from logs and debris.

Ellie attempts to climb the wall and is stung by a bee. Luckily, the Creeds' new neighbour Jud Crandall (John Lithgow, Interstellar) is there to help.

Jud soon becomes a friend of the family so when Church the cat is killed by a truck he helps Louis bury the cat on the other side of the pet-cemetery wall.

The next day Church is back -- but he's not the same. 

This sets in a motion a chain of spooky events which leads to the sudden and devastating death of one of the Creed children.

Louis, overcome with grief, decides against Jud's advice that "sometimes dead is better" to exhume his child and place them in the burial space beyond the pet-cemetery wall.

With his child back from the dead Louis believes his family will be whole once again but, just like Church, his child is not the same.

The movie, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, makes for some good jump-scares however the dialogue is often contrived and the emotion just isn't there.

Fans of the original movie or the book may be disappointed that the plot in this movie has some distinct differences.

Overall, Pet Sematary is proof that sometimes things really are better dead.