The latest trailer for the upcoming Pet Sematary remake had a few surprises in store for fans, not least for those who are familiar with the 1983 source material or have seen Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation. The general premise of an ancient burial ground with the power to raise the dead remains the same, but writer Jeff Buhler has decided to mix things up a bit when it comes to who actually does the dying.
Seeing as Stephen King wasn’t a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and the liberties that the 1980 movie took with his work, there was always the risk that he wouldn’t be too happy with the new Pet Sematary. In a tweet last month, however, the renowned author seemingly gave the project his seal of approval, writing the following:
“This is a scary movie. Be warned.”
It seems he was right to warn us, too, as the first reactions to the film are now pouring out of SXSW and for the most part, they’re extremely positive. Critics are calling Pet Sematary “super dark,” “vicious” and “one of the best King adaptations,” and you can see but a sampling of what folks are saying about the movie below.
#PetSematary is a hoot and a half! Super dark, twisted, gory, and surprisingly funny! More of a dark comedy than the original movie, and it all works once the fucked up third act kicks in. The cast is fantastic. Jeté Laurence is a revelation! What a way to end #SXSW
— Rafael Motamayor @ SXSW (@GeekWithAnAfro) March 17, 2019
#PetSematary: This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel makes for an undeniably fun popcorn horror flick. That said, even with slicker 2019 production values, a sharper script, and a couple of neat twists, it hits the beats in surprisingly similar manner as the first film #SXSW19 pic.twitter.com/iksGttyusI
— Caleb Masters @ SXSW19 (@CMastersTalk) March 17, 2019
— Preston Barta @ SXSW (@PrestonBarta) March 17, 2019
#PetSematary is a fucking BLAST. Holy shit! I’m giddy right now. One of the best King adaptations to date!
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) March 17, 2019
*sigh* #PetSematary is very average. Good acting, sound design, and production value. But it’s never scary enough, never tense enough. Once the horror stuff REALLY kicks in, it’s pretty much over. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wanted more out of this.#SXSW2019 pic.twitter.com/vEW1v2w8aG
— Kevin L. Lee (@Klee_FilmReview) March 17, 2019
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#PetSematary is *vicious* and I LOVED it. Super brutal visuals and was thrilled to see Widmyer & Kölsch fully embrace the deeply unsettling themes of mortality from the book. And WOW Jeté Laurence. They really pushed it with this adaptation & it worked for me – big time. ? #sxsw
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) March 17, 2019
#PetSematary delivers a solid sense of dread from start to finish. It earns its well-timed jump scares, and terrific sound design and gnarly effects add extra layers of creepy. I think King fans will dig it.
Move over Goose, it’s Church’s turn.#sxsw pic.twitter.com/jqkuLKOfWq
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) March 17, 2019
As fans will know, 2019 is set to be an exceptionally big year when it comes to adaptations of Stephen King’s work. Shining sequel Doctor Sleep, for instance, is arriving in cinemas on November 8th, while the much anticipated It: Chapter Two is set to haunt our dreams beginning on September 6th.
Before all that, however, we’ll be seeing Pet Sematary hitting theaters from April 5th, and if these early reactions coming out of South by Southwest are any indication of what’s in store, then it looks like horror fans are in for a real treat next month.