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The F*ckin Black Sheep: Pet Sematary II (1992)

05.28.2015by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Pet Sematary II (1992)
Directed by Mary Lambert

"At least the movie knows what it is."

Let’s address the celluloid elephant in the room. PET SEMATARY II isn’t as good as the original. Nope. Part II is something else, a (excuse the lackluster pun) different animal. Stephen King avoided this round, but original director Mary Lambert came back to hopefully recapture some creepy magic. And while she managed that, she also opted to not get scarier, taking all that death in a more goofy and B quality direction. Which isn’t a bad thing. Instead of rehashing the same old shit for another edition, this sequel attempts to do something different while sticking to the same idea of a plot of land that can bring the dead back to life…with some issues. 

PET SEMATARY II starts out with a movie actress (Darlanne Fluegel) being electrocuted on set while her teenage son Jeff (Edward Furlong) witnesses it. Jeff and his veterinarian dad (Anthony Edwards) move from LA to Ludlow, Maine…home of a cemetery so evil that it is spelled with an “s”. Dun dun!!! Anyway, once there, Jeff has trouble fitting in with the local punks, but manages to befriend a larger young kid Drew (Jason McGuire), whose dad Gus (Clancy Gilbert) happens to be the local sheriff. Things get all dark and nutty when king of the assholes Gus decides to shoot Drew’s dog because he’s, well, an asshole. Jeff and Drew bury the poor dog in the pet sematary, where (you guessed it) it comes back to cause all sorts of chaos. From there, people get dead and character rationale vanishes in a heartbeat.  

(Plenty of spoilers below…beware) As stated before, don’t watch PET SEMATARY II and expect very high quality quality. No. Here’s a few samples of the quality dialogue: “No brain, no pain…think about it” or “Looks like daddy got a boo boo” or the one I had to rewind to hear again, “I just got spooked by a bunch of fur balls.” Terrible, sure, but at least the movie knows what it is. Director Lambert knowingly (I assume) created a B movie with a mild budget, but regardless PET SEMATARY II has plenty of moments. The dinner sequence with Jeff, Drew and a reanimated Gus is pretty funny as a dead Gus eats his mashed potatoes like a moron. Actually, nearly all dead Gus’s scenes are great even if his character’s actions make no sense (he seems to have way too much cognitive ability).

Moreover, while Lambert skipped on a quality script, she did provide lots of quality gore, especially with the resurrected bodies. The movie takes it’s time, but the last 30 minutes are blood soaked. (Oh, I have to mention the very end, which is baffling. As Jeff and his dad drive their packed van the hell out of town, we’re given inserts of all the characters who died as if the audience had fond memories of them. It’s very after school special looking. 

What’s amazing is that PET SEMATARY II has an A-quality cast. Anthony Edwards turns in a solid performance as usual even if he doesn’t have much to do. The rest of the cast got the fleshy roles, starting with perhaps the most clichéd bully of all time, Clyde (played by BIG’s Jared Rushton) who’s an asshole punk just of the sake of being an asshole punk. He sports a duster and a white scarf (not to mention his very rebellious cross earring) and he drives a motorbike. I guess that’s what happens when your best friend was briefly Tom Hanks. Speaking of clichéd, Gus is the ultimate clichéd asshole. He’s a cop who likes to do bad things like shoot dogs and beat his stepson. He’s a peach. Now, when Gus has his throat ripped out by Drew’s reanimated dog, he ends up a crazed killer, eventually chasing his wife and stepson until they are killed in a head-on collision with a potato truck (am I missing the importance of the potato?). 

But it's young Mr. Furlong who is…mediocre. I remember growing up and thinking he was a bad ass with that whole TERMINATOR 2 gig and all. He’s not terrible, but his character has great lines like “I know your dog died, but get a grip, man, you’re freaking me out!” Jeff also lacks any cohesion from start to the end. He’s a bullied kid who misses his mom, but he never seemed to think about bringing mom back before he gets all evil looking. And why would he, after seeing how murdery everything resurrected ended up being? It’s one of the weirdest character shifts (from average teen to psycho waiting for dead mom) that I’ve ever seen. 

PET SEMATARY II isn’t a classic, but not every movie has to be one. This is a silly horror movie that has fun killing off characters with bloody glee.  

GET PET SEMATARY II DVD HERE

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