PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures.

PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures.

New Images from ‘Pet Sematary’ Bring Horror to the Homefront

Paramount Pictures on Monday released a group of new photos from April’s horror remake, Pet Sematary, and things are looking good. Starry Eyes helmers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer are bringing Stephen King’s haunting 1983 novel to the big screen in a brand, new way.

For those people unfamiliar with King’s 1983 novel or its 1989 adaptation (which the author adapted for the big screen), Pet Sematary is a bleak, but gripping horror story about a doctor named Creed who is perhaps the worst decision maker in all of literary history. After relocating with his family to rural Maine, Dr. Creed is introduced to a sinister plot of land that can supposedly reanimate the dead. A series of earth-shattering tragedies prompts Creed to put that rumor to the test with disastrous results.

Admittedly, diehard fans of horror flicks will detect more than a passing resemblance to 2017’s smash hit King adaptation of It. The collection of images from Pet Sematary hint at the same nostalgic color scheme woven throughout Andy Muschietti’s film and both movies share a low-key structural technique designed to put King’s story front and center. And while that may seem like a ploy on the part of Paramount to draft off the success of another King adaptation, anyone who dismisses Pet Sematary as a knockoff of It is ignoring the talent under the hood.

Left to right: Amy Seimetz as Rachel, Hugo Lavoie as Gage, Jason Clarke as Louis, and Jeté Laurence as Ellie in PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures. Credit: Kerry Hayes

Two writers have so far taken a swing at the upcoming adaptation of Pet Sematary. Jeff Buhler is perhaps best known for the vastly underrated Bradley Cooper vehicle The Midnight Meat Train, while David Kajganich is currently enjoying the byline on Tilda Swinton’s Suspiria re-imagining.

When it comes to Pet Sematary, however, the real key to success is recapturing the book’s unusual blend of unraveling characters and creeping dread. The story itself is a slow walk toward doom, and there are few directors as capable of sucking viewers into a dark hole from which you don’t want to escape like the team hired to bring Pet Sematary to life: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.

Left to right: Lucas Lavoie as Gage and Amy Seimetz as Rachel in PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures. Credit: Kerry Hayes

Kölsch and Widmyer are the minds behind 2014’s Starry Eyes, a skin-crawling slow-burn horror flick that’s all about the depths to which we’ll sink when consumed by self-doubt and obsession King fans will recognize that devolving cycle of depravity as being a pretty prominent thread in Pet Sematary. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Starry Eyes, check it out on Prime Video ASAP; it’ll mess you up.)

Left to right: Jason Clarke as Louis and John Lithgow as Jud in PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures. Credit: Kerry Hayes

That behind-the-screen talent is bolstered by a trio of reliable character actors in front of the camera. The wildly underrated Jason Clarke plays the good doctor, Stranger Things’ Amy Seimetz is on board as Mrs. Dr. Creed, and the great John Lithgow is lending his versatility to good-natured instigator Jud Crandall.

The eyes of an average King fan may be set on June’s It: Chapter Two, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t reserve a dollop of excitement for this new take on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary when the film arrives in theaters on April 5, 2019.

Left to right: John Lithgow as Jud and Jeté Laurence as Ellie in PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures.