I’m a little embarrassed to admit how little exposure I have had to Stephen King. I wasn’t sheltered and my family even collected his books but for some reason his stories always escaped me. I haven’t seen Christine or Cujo and I didn’t even see The Shining until I had reached adulthood…I told you it was shameful. I truly am late to the party in so many ways especially when it comes to Pet Sematary.
I have never read a single Stephen King book. Before you sharpen your pitchforks, let me tell you, I’ve tried. For some reason I can never get past the first few chapters. I love all of the stories that pump out of his nightmare factory of a brain but the writing can be just dry enough to keep my mind from connecting.
But I’m doing it, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and delving into Pet Sematary. My first thought…”Jesus how long is this intro?” My second thought…”Yeah let’s leave the diapered child ALONE near the road with the speeding semis.” Thank god for Fred Gwynne. I can already tell I’m not going to like this.
I have always had an aversion to movies where something happens to children and with the opening scene and the parents’ obvious “let the child parent himself” attitude, that kid won’t make it through the whole movie.
Who moves to a house where speeding semis are going by constantly? It happens day and night. Unless they didn’t go look at the house before they bought it, there’s no reason a family with a child that small and who let their kids just wander should be living that close to a major road, but I digress.
I immediately didn’t like the characters of Louis and Rachel. They seemed stubborn and irresponsible. They move to this big house in Maine with their two children, Ellie and Gage and their cat, Church. Their neighbor Jud (Fred Gwynne) is tall and intimidating but is the voice of reason. They live near a cemetery with the bad grammar for animals but behind it lies another cemetery that used to be an Indian burial ground (of course it was). Anything buried there comes back but not like they were before.
While his family is away, Louis finds Church dead in the yard after getting hit by one of the (surprise) speeding trucks that frequent the road. He buries Church in the “real cemetery” behind the pet sematary and behaves as surprised as his acting allows. If you can’t tell, I find the adult acting in this movie to be akin to a shot of botox in the face, Fred Gwynne being the exception. The kids on the other hand, especially Gage, outshines the adults.
While we all know a toddler isn’t going to be the most amazing actor in the world, Miko Hughes was a bad ass in Pet Sematary. That little voice simultaneously terrified me and made me sad. Having a child his age, this movie bothered me. The supernatural aspect of this movie did little to chill my bones, but the knowledge that something that devastating can happen in the blink of an eye ran a cold chill up my back.
As you’d expect, one of those damn trucks got little Gage and Louis couldn’t take it, even though he knew the consequences. In exhuming his son’s body and burying it in the OTHER cemetery, he insured the death of his neighbor and his wife. Gage comes back just as cute but considerably more murderous than he was before. Louis has to take out his zombie cat and zombie kid with shots of morphine.
Gage’s second death was worse than the first one. It was truly hard to watch. Louis then decides, like the goddamn idiot he is, that his mistake was waiting for too long to bury the dead in that special cemetery. Since Rachel just died, she’s sure to come back normal right? Dumbass.
Rachel comes back alright and the screen cuts to black as Louis screams. Serves him right. The best part of this movie is the end credits. The Ramones provided the song “Pet Sematary” for the credits and it was my favorite part. Let’s just loop that song for an hour and a half and I would have felt better about it.
Out of the few other Stephen King movies I’ve seen, I could have happily done without this one. Maybe if I was childless or less critical I would have enjoyed it more. But since neither is the case, I could honestly give or take this movie. One thing seems to be a noticeable trend with King movies though…Stephen King hates kids. I just saw the new IT this past weekend and that just solidified my suspicions. Okay, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really hate kids but he has no problems effing them up in his books.
Maybe next time I’ll watch something that doesn’t focus on kids getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, like Misery. Like “Late to the Party?” Check out some of our most recent ones like Alien or The Shining.
(All image except featured image courtesy of IMDB.)