Film adaptations of beloved books are always put under a microscope. Fans of the book are always quick to throw out that the film could never possibly be as good. Stephen King fans, in particular, have been put through the wringer when it comes to adaptations over the years. While some have a fun '90s nostalgia vibe to them, a lot of the film versions of King's most popular novels can be hard to watch. Overall, the 1989 adaptation of Pet Sematary falls in the beloved category, which is why when another adaptation was announced, fans were leery.
Every adaptation has to cut or change things from the book it's adapting, and the 2019 Pet Sematary is no different. It also has to compete with people's love of the original adaptation. In order to keep things fresh, there were quite a few alterations this time around.
Louis Interacts With A Returned Ellie
Once Gage gets planted in the burial ground in the book, it's a quick dash to the finish line. The boy returns and takes out both Jud and Rachel in quick succession. When Ellie returns in the film, she comes back to the house, gets a bath from Louis, sleeps, wakes up dancing the next morning, and talks about how she doesn't want anyone else around. The film gives Louis more time to realize the mistake he made.Was this a good change?
The Masked Procession
In the film, when the Creeds arrive at their new rural home, they quickly hear the sound of a drum. They turn and see a group of kids wearing some creepy masks, playing a drum, and pushing a dead dog in a wheelbarrow. They don't know it yet, but the kids are taking the dog to be buried in the Pet Sematary. The book never blatantly shows other kids using the cemetery for themselves.Was this a good change?
Church's First Death
Church's death is the catalyst that truly sets all the bad things in motion. It's also this cat, not the creepily misspelled Pet Sematary sign, that has been the most recognizable image of this story. In the film, Church dies on Halloween, and Jud and Louis sneak out to bury him after Ellie does some trick-or-treating. In the book, Church still dies on a holiday, but it's Thanksgiving, and Louis buries the cat while the rest of his family is away for the holidays.
That doesn't mean Halloween is uneventful. In the books, Norma Crandall suffers a heart attack while Louis and Ellie are over getting candy.Was this a good change?
The Pet Sematary's Introduction
The film's introduction to the titular cemetery is a bit more lonely. Ellie, curious about the masked kids and the dead dog, heads out into the forest alone. She follows the path and eventually finds the Pet Sematary. After a bit of wandering around the place, she eventually tries to climb some deadfall but quickly falls. This is how she meets the Creeds' neighbor, Judson Crandall.
In the book, all the Creeds have already met Jud when he takes them all - even baby Gage - along the forest path to the cemetery.Was this a good change?