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PET SEMATARY (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Mary Lambert

Starring:
Dale Midikiff
Fred Gwynne
Denise Crosby
Brad Greenquist


Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
The Creeds have just moved to Maine. Louis (Dale Midkiff) is a young doctor who lives with his wife Rachel (Denise Crosby), and his two kids Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes). They've got a kindly old neighbor named Jud (Fred Gwynne) who lets them know that they're in a bit of a danger zone as giant trucks tend to blow by their quaint farm home. He also lets Louis know when tragedy befalls the family pet that there's an indian burial ground that houses a Pet Sematary..a place which can bring a dead thing back to life. Once Louis tempts fate with the family cat and notices that the beast does indeed come back to life, he must wrestle with the human ramifications of such a bizarre place.
Is it good movie?
This movie (and the Stephen King book it was based on) scared the ever-loving crap out of me when I was a kid. It was just horrifying, far too much for my little soul to take. And I'm pretty happy to say that it ages fairly well, especially for a King adaptation (those tend to really suck).

Helmed by the capable Mary Lambert, the casting is either a little off, or the direction is. The Creed family isn't exactly teeming with love, it must seemed that some of the ways these people spoke to each other and acted around one another was odd. I found that the wife character came off really mean and annoying, and the kids are a bit frustrating too (though Miko Hughes was only 2 when he gave his performance, which was pretty amazing). Still though, Dale Midkiff is pretty decent in his role, and Fred Gwynne is a real standout as friendly neighbor Jud.  It's a bit of a head scratcher why a Doctor with a young family would buy a house in such a disastrous location, but who am I to judge?

In fact, when you really stop to think about it, the movie is really kind of stupid. Shortly after Louis is foolish enough to ignore the advice of the kindliest old man ever in Herman Munster, his dead cat shows up again and is clearly out for blood. I think the whole shindig would stop there. Sure, Louis has a lot on his mind as he struggles to gain his footing, having lost his first patient, an accident victim named Pascow who haunts his waking moments in the meantime. Still though, even Pascow's corpse warns him to stay away from the burial ground, but Louis just can't listen.

Ultimately, the whole film is about the inevitability of death and how we're forced to endure it as free-thinking humans. This very notion is of course, a scary one and this may be why this film can be so unsettling. The Creed housekeeper kills herself in their very basement, which continues the roller coaster ride, kicking up memories of Rachel's sister Zelda, who passed away from spinal meningitis. The flashbacks of her slow, painful death are absolutely terrifying, with images I'll never forget. This, coupled with the warnings from Pascow's splattered ghostly vision and a true sense of messing with things that ought not be messed with can make for a pretty scary flick.

Unfortunately though, age and predictability have hurt the tim a bit. The first half of this movie builds relatively well, and you're with it. When actual people start dying and coming back to life (which is inevitable, really) the movie begins to become less of a social experiment/commentary and more of a silly horror movie. That's not to say that the re-animated dead can't be scary, but it gets sillier and sillier and builds to soap-opera levels of melodrama by the movie's end. If you can stand a few seemingly head-smackingly stupid decisions every so often, the flick still works for the most part and is undoubtedly creepy.
Video / Audio
Pet Sematary lands on Blu with a full 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 widescreen. It looks about as good as it ever has, that's for sure with a nice sharp picture, but slightly muted colors. Impressive enough!

Audio comes in DTS-HD Master Audio and sounds decent. Nothing to blow your speakers away, but when the trucks drive by, your subwoofer will boom accordingly.
The Extras
First up is an Audio Commentary with Mary Lambert, which is a little dull but full of little stories and details that would interest fans. Interesting enough, but not the most riveting thing.

Stephen King Territory is a short, 13 minute piece that deals with King himself through various little interview bits that actually reveals some substantial stuff. The best extra on the disc.

The Characters features interviews with Midkiff and Brad Greenquist (Pascow) as they discuss their motivation and link their characters to those of the novel. This also runs about 13 minutes.

Filming the Horror is 10 minute piece featuring more brief set interviews which also includes some talk of effects and focuses a lot on Miko Hughes' involvement.
Last Call
Sure, it's still creepy but it's showing its age without question. The blu-ray looks and sounds decent, but it isn't anything super special and the extras are all SD and recycled. If you're a fan and it's cheap, pick it up. Otherwise, you might want to watch it first to make up your mind. I'm happy to revisit it as it terrified me when I was young but these days I'm not sure how I'd feel if I only saw it for the first time.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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