The 2019 Pet Sematary adaptation, which has an April 5, 2019 release date, relies more on mental and visual horror than the jump scares that shocked viewers who watched the 1989 cinematic version of the Stephen King novel. The more horrifying moments in Pet Sematary invite you to question your own moral objectives. Would you bring your child back from the dead if it meant you'd have more time with them? What if they came back possessed by an unknown evil?
Louis Creed chooses to bring back his daughter, Ellie, and in doing so, he damns his friend and his entire family. Louis's decision shows how selfish and blind love can be, and that isn't the only emotionally challenging scene in the movie. The characters make questionable choices, children suffer grim fates, and one especially unlucky soul suffers from an exceptionally bad head injury.
Horrifying moments like these are likely to make this iteration of Pet Sematary stand out in your memory forever.
The visual horror in 2019's Pet Sematary is quite poignant. Not every scene is marked by gore, but those that include it are especially messy.
When student Victor Pascow appears in Louis Creed's office after an exceptionally bad car accident, the doctor hopes he can save the young man. Pascow's head injury is beyond repair though. And at the end of the futile life-saving attempt, Louis must accept the inevitable.
Pascow's role isn't finished, however. His death gives Louis a foreboding sign of what's to come, and the future is hardly promising.
Soon after Rachel Creed steps foot in the new family home in Ludlow, ME, things go sour for her. She finds a picture of Zelda, her deceased sister, and memories from the past flood her psyche. It may not be immediately clear why Rachel feels so guilty and haunted by childhood memories; she was only a young girl when Zelda passed. However, she eventually shares the true nature of her remorse, and now seems doomed to be haunted by her sister forever.
Jud Crandall seems like a good guy for the most part. Maybe it's a little creepy he just happens to be in the woods when Ellie tries to climb the barrier that separates the pet cemetery from the haunted burial grounds. But overall, he's nice to the girl and to the rest of the Creed family.
Even so, it's petrifying when he takes Louis to the evil land to bury the dead cat, Church. Jud knows what happens to creatures once the land reanimates them. His own dog came back evil and violent, so it's unsettling to consider what really motivated Jud to give such bad advice. It's as if the evil of the burial ground is so powerful that it entrances Jud. In spite of the tragedy and misfortune of the place, the kindly old man can't help but return to it.
The characters in Pet Sematary make many reckless and impulsive decisions. Jud Crandall introduces Louis to the haunted burial grounds even though he knows only evil things emerge from the land. And instead of killing Church after he returns from the dead, Louis allows the possessed cat to live and eventually find its way back home. This is all pretty questionable, but Rachel makes a particularly horrifying choice.
Upon returning to Maine and finding Ellie reanimated and obviously not herself, the Creed family matriarch refuses to embrace the child. Instead of just pretending to love and accept the girl, Rachel shuns her, starting a chain of disastrous events. If she only hid her feelings from the girl, things might have turned out better.