the fresh films reviews

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Pet Sematary (1989)

Mary Lambert



Pet Sematary

103 minutes

Richard P. Rubinstein

Screenwriter (based on his own short story):
Stephen King

Cast includes:

Louis Creed Dale Midkiff
Jud Crandall Fred Gwynne
Rachel Creed Denise Crosby
Victor Pascow Brad Greenquist -
Gage Creed Miko Hughes
Ellie Creed Blaze Berdahl
Minister Stephen King -



With this cult classic, Mary Lambert (later of American Psycho) demonstrated how to properly bring a Stephen King story to the big screen, something a long line of more and less notable directors have failed to do successfully both before and since. King's pal George A. Romero had purchased the rights to King's novel already in 1984, but he eventually had to pull out of the production, and music video director Lambert was chosen after meeting with King and promising him to be faithful to the book. She kept that promise, but more importantly, she was also able to infuse her film with an ominous, outlandish atmosphere.

Utilizing relatively unknown actors (except Fred Gwynne), Lambert embraced the story's blackness and added well-portioned hints of absurdity and comedy. The story is about dealing with death in the family, something we all must do at some point in our lives. But in King's vision, the safety that any family unit represents is threatened by the lure of an ancient pet cemetery when tragedy strikes. It's the fall of man all over again, and Louis Creed is Adam who lets the serpent in.

Lambert also worked wonders with young Miko Hughes as Gage, who was only 3 years old during filming. Brilliant directing, editing and use of prosthetics made him into one of the most fascinating, unlikely and certainly cutest villains of the decade. He is the key figure in a number of iconic scenes which will disturb even the most toughened viewers, not to speak of parents. Pet Sematary aims for the very core of your humanity and revels in its own gruesomeness, before appeasing you with tinges of black humour just when you were about to lose hope. It's B-movie making with A-list sensibilities.

Re-reviewed: Copyright 20.09.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 01.09.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang