“Pet Sematary” is a unique paradox: A well-made Stephen King adaptation that fails to find a balance.
This remake does follow the story of the bestselling novel and stars Jason Clarke (“The Great Gatsby,” “Terminator Genisys”) as a doctor from Boston who relocates his family to the small town of Ludlow, Maine.
Everything seems to go fairly normal for the family until his daughter (Jete Laurence) soon discovers a procession of kids who journey off into some woods to bury dead animals. I guess I don’t have to tell you what the name of the burial ground is called.
Amy Seimetz costars as his wife and John Lithgow is a fellow neighbor who knows secrets about the Pet Sematary and explains it after the family cat, Church, is killed after being run over.
Clarke and Lithgow proceed to bury the cat, but soon learn that the animals are resurrected and once they are, well, let’s just say they’re not quite the same pets as before.
The performances deserve a better movie. Clarke and Lithgow are especially good and the movie is effectively atmospheric, but it’s also unfortunately punctuated by moments of unintentional comedy.
Sometimes the attempts at suspense are disappointing due to the inconsistent tone and pacing. Instead of wanting to feel suspense, we end up laughing and that laughter far outweighs the thrills. The moments of consistent jump scares feel incredibly, awkwardly placed.
“Pet Sematary” is made and acted with craft and skill, but the execution overall is less than satisfying.
Sometimes a competent thriller is better.
(Rated R for horror violence, bloody images, and some language.)