Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pet Semetary (1989) - Review

Stephen King's movies are pretty hit and miss, especially if you're counting his TV movies.  And it's not hard to see why, even the bigger King movies like this one look and feel pretty cheap.  That's not to say that the cheapness doesn't work here to an extent, but it's a constant lingering here, and not always in a good, "raw" sort of way.

The story is fine, for the most part; it focuses on the Gage family as they move to a new house on a road known for a lot of traffic.  Oh and the house happens to be near an Indian burial ground that revives things you put in there as evil possessed zombie-esque creatures.  Other than that, it's lovely.  But seriously, it IS a creepy idea.  It reminds me a lot of the ending to The Monkey's Paw, something that has always creeped me out.  The concept is great, but the execution needs work.

The biggest problem with the film itself is the acting.  It's pretty shaky all around, though I did find myself liking Jud, the old man who grew up around the burial ground.  Not to say that his acting is great, but he certainly has a charm to him.  The rest of the actors range from okay to pretty bad, actually, and that does tend to turn scary and sad moments into funny ones.  Speaking of scary moments, they're few and far between because the film largely lands on the cheesier side of things.  There is a subplot about the wife's sister who died when she was a kid that is truly unsettling though, mostly due to the actor playing the girl.  Yes, the actor playing the girl.  Any time you have men play girl roles, it's going to be creepy.

The rest of the film is fairly standard though, and although it does produce a rather nice atmosphere, it rings mostly hollow.  The movie definitely isn't bad by any means.  There are much worse cheesy horror movies, and much worse films from the Stephen King oeuvre alone.  But is Pet Semetary a masterpiece?  Not at all.  It's a decent film with precious few scary moments and some pretty goofy acting.

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