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3.7 out of 5 stars
Pet Sematary [Blu-ray] [1989] [US Import]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2011
When the Creed family (parents Louis and Rachel, daughter Ellie and son Gage) move into their new home in the countryside, they quickly strike up a friendship with their neighbour, Jud Crandall. Two things instantly come to their attention, the narrow road that seperates their house from Jud's where trucks carelessly speed down day and night, and a path by the side of the house. When asked about the path, Jud tells the family that it leads to a pet cemetery that children made to bury their pets that died on the road. While the family are away visiting relatives, Louis stays behind and Church, Ellie's cat, dies. Jud tells Louis that the ground beyond the pet cemetery is an old Indian burial ground, and any pet that's buried there will return from the dead. Louis buries the cat and a few days later he returns, but it isn't the same cat as before. Sometime later, Gage is tragically run over by a truck during a picnic. Grief stricken a few days after the funeral, Louis digs up Gage and buries him at the Indian burial ground. Gage later returns, but is a very different child to the sweet innocent one that was run over. The film also contains two subplots, Pascow who was a student that was killed by a truck who tries to warn Louis about the dangers of using the burial ground, and Zelda, Rachel's sister who died years earlier who suffered from spinal meningitis which is an agonising, disfiguring disease.

The acting is pretty good with Fred Gwynne the stand out as Jud, the rest of the cast do a reasonable job. Dale Midkiff seems to attract a lot of criticism for his role as Louis, but I've always felt he did a good job and his performance certainly doesn't harm the film. Miko Hughes did a great job as Gage considering he was three years old, he later gave an excellent but overlooked performance in the film Mercury Rising as an autistic boy whose parents were murdered. Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist and Andrew Hubatsek are good, Hubatsek played Zelda and it's obvious Zelda is played by a man once you know, but it's still very creepy. The one character and performance that I really don't care for in the film was Ellie played by Blaze Berdahl, the movie could have coped without her, but I think it's more the whiny, annoying performance that makes me really dislike the character. Fred Gwynne is fantastic in this, virtually every line of his is quotable and I assume the South Park creators also loved his performance as they've used the character several times. Stephen King pops up in his usual brief cameo as a reverand.

It was directed by Mary Lambert who returned to direct the sequel three years later, as good a job as she did, George A. Romero was originally set to direct until the movie was delayed and he had to pull out. I love the film anyway, but I feel that Romero would have maybe done the film quite differently, and as a big Romero fan I'd have loved to see what he would have done with it. Tom Savini also turned down the chance to direct, before the project was finally given to Lambert. Bruce Campbell was first choice to play Louis, I'm also a big fan of Campbell and again feel his inclusion could only have benefited the film. This was the first filmed screenplay that Stephen King adapted from one of his own novels, and as he's a big fan of the Ramones, the film has two of their songs in the film. Sheena is a punk rocker and Pet Sematary, the latter was done specifically for the film. The music in the film is great, from the spooky music over the opening credits with children saying goodbye to their pets, to the sombre, atmospheric music in the film's second half when the horror really kicks in. There's a fair few disturbing scenes in the film, Zelda is very disturbing and horrified me as a child, but there's quite a few gore scenes that will keep the blood and guts fans happy such as severed tendons, puss and blood dripping from an eye socket and Pascow's head wound.

I'm a big fan of Stephen King, and although the film isn't as good as the book, the film is still very good and does more than enough right. Gwynne is the perfect Jud Crandall, Miko Hughes is very good as Gage. The Ellie character wasn't as annoying in the book, but this is definitely one of the more faithful movies based on a King book. Some reviewers have stated "just read the book instead", I'd say if you've seen and liked the film then definitely get the book, if you've read the book then the movie is well worth seeing. Not as good as Misery, The Shining, Creepshow or Carrie, but it's just about the best of the rest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2011
i recently boght this film as it was a childhood favorite of mine. i bought it to see if it did have the same effect on me today as it did when i was a kid! and i must say it still delivers! awesome to wacha nd is well worth having on your dvd shelf. brilliant plot of the brilliant mind of stephen king. certainly one of his best! just hope they don't make a remake and ruin it! cause you will never beat this original!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2004
You don't have to take this too seriously. Of course, it's never going to be as good as the book but it still not too bad.
Doctor moves to new town, new house. Creepy neighbour shows the family the pet cemetary at the back of the house and tells a story about his dog buried there. New doc's daughter's cat gets killed on a busy road and dies, he buries it in an old Indian burial ground (who doesn't have one of those in the back yard) and it comes back to life but is not the cat he was! When his son dies, he does the same but son comes back "evil" and goes on to kill mother and creepy neighbour. Husband buries wife in graveyard and she comes back and kills him (phew!). Oh, and there's a ghost in there too.
You get the picture. Nothing too taxing. The cast is not huge and the leads are okay, Fred Gwynne plays his part well as does Dale Midkiff. The kids are annoying and you would bury them anyway.
It doesn't look like a cheap production and hasn't really dated. Best part is the Ramones soundtrack.
Watch with an open mind and you might enjoy. Watch it to be critical and you won't.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2002
Pet Sematary was the first Stephen King book that I ever read, and I liked it a lot so I decided to give the film a shot. The plot is very simple - stereotypical happy American family move into house close to old indian animal burial ground with the ability to resurrect the dead, although leaving them somewhat...murderous?
This movie is awesome and has many mentionable moments, but I do not like to watch it as it is SO twisted.
Yes it is just a movie but some parts of it just SEEM so evil.
Unfortunately memorable parts of the film that I do not want to see again are: Zelda, the girl with horrific spinal meningitis, possibly the single most frightening thing I have ever seen; The man who is brought back from the dead in the flashback and proceeds to be burned in his house, that man really just makes me feel ill; also the very ending of the film just seems so sick to me, not in what actually happens, just the way in which it is presented.
Worth a mention -the scene with the truck is not to be missed. Those who have seen it may know what I am talking about. That is the only moment in a film in my life where I could really feel my heart racing and I could totally empathise with what was happening. The sheer brutality of the moment brought it all home.
People who have read the book first may be slightly disappointed, but it is to be expected really with a book to film conversion. Norma Crandall has been totally omitted from the film, and much of the magic of the book has failed to be replicated in the movie. But hey- at least they did a better conversion than they did with The Shining!
Ok so people thinking about buying this movie... I would buy it, watch it, and give it to a friend you don't like for their birthday. Do not watch this film on your own as I did. It is a truly memorable and exciting film, but just try to prepare yourself for the visual attack of which you will be subject to.
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!!!WARNING. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!

When the Creed family move to a new house, they meet their strange neighbour Jud Crandall(Fred Gwynne) who tells them of the pet cemetary they live across the road from. Louis Creed(Dale Midkiff) works as a Doctor, and after failing to save the life of a patient, the ghost of the dead man comes back to haunt him, warning him about another cemetary that lies beyond the pet cemetary, a place where the dead 'walk'. However, when the Creed's beloved pet cat is run over and killed, Louis and Jud take a trip to the other cemetary, an old Indian burial ground, where Jud instructs Louis to bury the animal. Later that night, Church comes back, but it's not quite the same puss that departed the world hours earlier. Then tragedy strikes again, and young Gage Creed is killed by a truck. Louis decides to revisit the Indian burial ground, despite further warnings from his spirit guide. Some people never learn....
I'm sorry but I consider this to be one of the weakest Stephen King adaptations. Okay, it does improve significantly in the last half hour, when Gage 'comes back', but you have to get through a lot of filler and scenes with no dramatic tension to reach that point. Part of the problem is that Midkiff and Denise Crosby lack the charisma to makes Louis and Rachel Creed engaging characters. Fred Gwynne is very enjoyable as Jud, but can't carry the film by himself.
The last half hour is a riot and nearly compensates for what has gone before. It's great ghoulish fun as Gage finds a new toy to play with, one that he wastes no time in introducing to Jud. I think the best way to approach the whole film would be as a black comedy, as there is a parodic feel to the whole exercise. Not terrible by any means, but not great either. Stephen King obviously disagreed though, as he appears as a Minister at Missy's funeral.
A bare bones dvd release completes the whole lacklustre package. 3 out of 5, and I feel that's slightly generous.
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on 29 December 2008
A young family move to a new town. Soon they make a discovery across the road from their home of a cemetery erected for pets & road kill.
Louis Creed, the father of the family is a doctor & attempts to treat a severely injured man named Victor Pascow. Victor dies of his injuries & comes to Louis in the middle of the night (as a ghost) to convince him to avoid a deadly part of the pet cemetery.
The next day his daughter's beloved cat (Church) is found dead by the man about town, Judd Crandall. Judd takes Louis to the part of the cemetery Victor explicitly told Louis to avoid at all costs to bury the cat.
A day later Church is back from the dead, but vicious now & foul smelling.
What is silly about the film is the amount of warnings Louis receives to avoid that part of the cemetery & the guy even gets to see the horrific results himself, but still stupidly continues to go against his past experience & the word of others.
`Pet Sematary' is a good horror movie; it does what it's supposed to do; provide cheap thrills. It's not original or groundbreaking, but if you're a true horror fan there are some truly classic scary moments (the most horrific involving Louis' wife's decade's deceased sister Zelda who looks horrible as a result of spinal meningitis).
So for all the horror fans, watch this film, there's not much story or depth but there are genuinely frightening moments that no fan of the genre should miss.
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on 8 June 2012
I first saw this film years ago when it originally came out on rental VHS. I've watched it since then on TV and both times I thought it was okay but nothing special. Having recently read and loved the Stephen King novel that this movie is based on I wanted to give the film another look. I'm so glad that I did.

This is a film I really appreciate more with age. It's themes of tragedy, grief and loss were probably lost on me as a young horror fan in the 1990s, but it really resonated with me strongly as an adult. This is so much more than a horror film, though the horror elements are indeed strong and the effects haven't really dated too badly; it's about parenthood and family and untimely death.

As an adaptation of a King novel, it's one of the best; very faithful to the story and characters. The acting, especially from Dale Midkiff as the grief stricken father driven to extreme measures, is excellent. This is definitely up there with Carrie, The Mist and Salem's Lot as one of the classic King movies.

NOTE: Although the art work displayed by Amazon states this is a Special Edition - it is just a vanilla, movie only dvd. The picture quality is good, with anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 surround sound.
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on 9 September 2008
From the children singing and bidding farewell to their beloved pets who are now under twisted wooden crosses adorned with dog collars and the like, to scenes in which an exhumed soldier goes screaming mad through realising he is living in a decomposing corpse, Pet Sematary really is a true horror film. The plot involves a doctor and his family who move into a house not far from a main road. When the doctor's young daughter's cat is killed by a juggernaut, his enigmatic neighbour shows him how to bring the unfortunate moggy back to life by means of an ancient Indian burial ground. Things start getting out of hand when the doc's son Gage is killed and then brought back as a mini-psycho (well, if your parents had called you Gage, wouldn't you want revenge?) It is true that not all of the book made it to screen (but that's often the case with long-ish books). Nevertheless, this is the most disturbing and terrifying film I've seen in a long time. It's not just about gore and killing, it's a psychological tale which evokes thoughts about human frailty and the steps obsessions can drive us to.
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on 10 August 2014
Never read the book, but have always enjoyed this movie and have seen it so many times. No need to go into details but anyone familiar with King's work will notice about 3 sub-plots which could easily take up 2 or 3 chapters, as is his way. The thing with these is that they work well in written form, but sometimes seem a little pointless on film, especially with no direct connection to the story. A case of trying to incorporate too much from the book, as can be seen in other works.

However, this is great fun, creepy with never a dull moment, plus one very wince inducing scalpel attack.

Acting is fine, with Fred Gwynne taking the honours, the sort of neighbour you could easily chew the cud with.
Dale Midkiff is a little dull and lifeless at times, but this doesn't detract from an enjoyable story.

Just to say, after the second viewing I guarantee you'll be humming the Ramone's end credits song.

This review is for the region 1 release..... good picture quality and sound, no extras but not a problem.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2006
The book is my favorite, the plot is so well structured. When I first saw the film I couldn't get properly engrossed (too much stuff on my mind, I suppose!) but when I watched it again I couldn't help liking it. The music at the end credits is wicked, and the best part is right at the end. Generally a good show from the actors involved, this is not to be missed. Most of the Stephen King books are my favourites, you should also see The Shining, like Pet Sematary not to be missed! One tip though: don't watch by yourself at night!
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