Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 9/28/00
1989 (2000) - Paramount
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
102 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging,
film-themed menu screens, scene access (19 chapters), languages:
English (DD 5.1 & 2.0) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English,
"It says: "Pet
Sematary", honey. It's misspelled, but that's what it says."
"I don't wanna be buried in a pet cemetery. I don't wanna live
my life again." Ah... The Ramones. Anybody remember that song?
When I told Bill I was reviewing this film for the site, I started
singing it - you know, just to punctuate it. He apparently totally
forgot about that song. Silly rabbit - The Ramones aren't just for
kids. Anyway, I like this flick. I always have. In fact, there's a
little contest in Total Film
where they ask you for a film to fit into the Top 20 Scariest Films
of all time, and I think someone should enter this film. It has some
real moments in it that send chills down my spine every single time
I see it. The sister in the back bedroom just bothers the hell out
of me. Do check this one out for the Halloween viewing season.
Stephen King has gone on record claiming that this is about the
only thing he's written that scares him. When he came up with the
idea, he shelved it... because he was afraid of it. That is until
his publisher coaxed him into releasing it after his statement about
how much this idea scared him went public. Indeed, the book is very
frightening. On all sorts of complicated levels. You have realistic
and heart-wrenching death, zombies who don't quite lumber, a demon
cat and Fred Gwynne trying out his Maine accent. Ahhhhhhhhhh! The
film is a slightly condensed version of the book, but since it was
King himself doing the condensing, Pet
Sematary was actually the first really good adaptation of
one of his books to film. Now with The
Green Mile, Stand By Me
and Shawshank Redemption, it's
hard to say that it's the best adaptation. But trust me... it really
is the scariest.
Louis Creed is a doctor that's moved his family from Chicago to
Maine to work at the local college. His house sits across the street
from old-timer Jud, who warns him to fix his cat because the street
that divides their yards is streaming with tractor trailers that
speed by at a constant rate. Once Jud shows Louis and his family an
old pet cemetery full of animals killed by the same road at the end
of a path on Louis's property, Louis heeds his advice. But poor,
poor Louis can't keep the inevitable down and Church (his cat) is
hit by a truck and killed. Poor kitty. Louis's two kids, Gage (the
little boy) and Ellie (his girl), will be heart broken... that is,
until Jud tells Louis about the other pet cemetery - the one hidden
behind the brush and fallen trees. The one he was warned about in a
dream. The one that brings dead things back to life. You can
probably guess what happens next, so if you haven't seen the film
already, try it out. It'll scare the shite out of you.
Pet Sematary has its problems.
Some of the acting is a bit internalized (too much so for a frickin'
horror film), some of the effects (of the blue screen variety) are
cheesy and while I like the concept of the ending (which is the same
in the book), I think it should have ended before the extension of
the ending. If you've seen the film, I think you know what I'm
getting at. If you haven't, once you do I think you'll agree. But
for the most part, all of the make-up effects are pretty cool and
ultra-realistic and the story and pace are pitch perfect. It's a
great way to kill an hour and a half.
The DVD boasts an anamorphic transfer that preserves the film quite
well. The transfer seems to be a little dark and the print itself
shows signs of age, like scratches and dust. But it still looks
pretty good. There aren't any moiré or edge enhancement
problems and you should see not a lick of compression artifacting.
It's a very pleasing picture. The sound is presented in dual Dolby
Digital tracks (2.0 and 5.1), but both sound a bit hollow. The 5.1
track is very active in the rear channels and quite playful at
times. But the dialogue is a bit on the stiff side. I'd call it a
nice try. The 2.0 is fine and shows some of the same problems the
5.1 track, which tells me it's a source issue and not a mixing
Extras are not to be found at all, which is a shame. I'd have to
think there would be something around - even Fangoria
articles would have helped round this disc out a bit more. Oh, well.
For a movie only disc it's a good presentation.
For what it is, Pet Sematary
is a nice disc. A good worthwhile haunting film in anamorphic
widescreen, with okay sound and no extras. If you're not expecting
much, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. If you wanted a
two-disc set... well, get ready to get mad. I can live with this,
'cause I like the film. It's eleven years later and I'm still scared
by half of it. That says something. Whether it says more about the
film or me, I don't care to answer.