Lies and guilt.
Like most of Stephen King’s tales, Pet Sematary explores more than your standard horror fare. From the very beginning, Louis (Jason Clarke) lies to his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) about what he witnessed when Victor (Obssa Ahmed) died. Rachel experiences severe distress when she is reminded of her sister, and the lies surrounding her death. We learn near the end of the film that Jud (John Lithgow) had been lying about the death of his wife.
Pet Sematary also does something that I find both refreshing and excellent – it doesn’t tell the viewer too much. We are offered just enough information for the plot to make sense, but much is left up to the interpretation of the audience. That, in my opinion, is what sets this film above most of the standard horror movies that saturate the genre.
That said, I don’t expect Pet Sematary to be popular or receive overwhelming praise. There are minimal jump scares and a low volume of blood and gore. The film takes its time setting things up, and it is much more about the atmosphere and characters rather than simply trying to scare the viewer.
I was most concerned – as I am with any horror film – with the performances, but I was pleasantly surprised. John Lithgow was a pleasure to watch and Jete Laurence did an excellent job with the role of Ellie. Her abilities really revealed themselves later in the film when her character shifted from cute and endearing to gross and disturbing.
Overall, I am pleased with Pet Sematary. Is it a genre-changing film? No. Does it accomplish what it set out to do? Absolutely.
Lies and guilt.