'Pet Sematary' Is Back from the Grave

(Paramount Pictures)

The 2017 remake of Stephen King's "It" was a massive hit, so it's not a surprise that studios are digging around in the King graveyard for more titles to remake. "Pet Sematary" (out now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital) is the latest to surface from the mire.

Part of the reason we needed an "It" movie is that the original TV miniseries was so campy and 1,000% not scary. The original 1989 Mary Lambert-directed "Pet Sematary" holds the distinction as one of the scariest and best movies based on a King novel, up there with the original Brian DePalma "Carrie."

The new movie (from up-and-coming directing partners Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer) changes important plot points to make something that feels a lot more like Jordan Peele's recent and sure-to-be classic "Us." The changes strip some of the psychological horror from the novel and the original movie, but yield a plot that offers more straightforward thrills.

If the studio was looking for a movie that slots more into the contemporary horror genre, those changes may not have been a bad idea, but they're likely to disappoint fans of the original movie.

The story follows a family that moves to rural Maine. The family cat dies, and the creepy-yet-helpful neighbor (John Lithgow) tells Dad (Jason Clarke) about a secret burial ground behind the "pet sematary" that might bring the cat back to life. What he neglects to mention is that the reanimated corpse comes with some violent and gross baggage.

Everything degenerates from there, and things go very wrong for the family. It's a solid horror movie, and it made good scary movie money in spite of mixed reviews. If you don't know the first movie, chances are you'll like this one just fine.

The special features include a not-bad alternate ending, deleted and extended scenes, and a couple of featurettes.

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