Sometimes… a reimagining is better!
By: Brian Maddox
Birmingham, AL (The Hollywood Times) 04/04/2019 – Being an avid reader, nothing is quite as fulfilling as experiencing some of our favorite literary characters brought to life straight from the pages of any relevant works. See the trailer for Pet Sematary 2019.
As a fan of any number of tomes from the graphically descriptive mind of Stephen King can attest, it’s equivalent to watching living nightmares unfold. King’s best selling 1983 novel, Pet Sematary, has been given the big screen treatment once again, 30 years after the now cult classic feature first hit theaters. Both contain the essential premise of the original novel; Dr. Louis Creed moves his wife Rachel, 8 year old daughter Ellie along with her pet cat, Church, and 2 year old son, Gage, from Chicago to rural Ludlow, Maine, in hopes of acquiring more time with his family as the newly appointed doctor of the University of Maine campus.
As King himself will declare, the events of the story was enough to cause him to shelf the novel for a few years, hitting too close to home after a near miss with his then toddler son, Owen, involving a busy road with seemingly nonstop tanker trucks viciously barreling back and forth. Little did King know that his story involving any parent’s worst nightmare would eventually become one of his top selling works.
King purists have been quick to point out a large plot twist involving the fate of one of the Creed children, but also welcoming to the prospect in the reworking of a significant detail from the original story. Anyone will agree that any narrative involving a child in peril should never be deemed entertainment worthy, but albeit (maybe) necessary in staying somewhat true to the source material.
From page to screen, the fate of young Gage Creed is sure to evoke pure emotion from even the most hardened horror fanatic. Personally, the pained, onscreen reaction of Louis Creed (played by Dale Midkiff in 1989) upon losing his youngest child in such a violent manner has never failed to produce a woeful lump in my throat.
In this newest retelling, Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) is still a loving husband and father, proving so to daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) by accepting the advice of neighbor Jud Crandall (John Lithgow) of burying her pet Church, after falling victim to a speeding tanker, into the sacred Micmac burial ground, beyond the deadfall of the local hallowed PET SEMATARY. Legend has it that anything interred into the “sour ground” will return as something not quite its ordinary self, but return nonetheless. It’s hard to say what anyone would do if such power were obtainable in the hopes of bringing a loved one back to life, but in the case of Louis Creed, his grief outweighs rationality, following the death of Ellie due to a speeding truck.
What follows is a chain of horrific events that insists Jud’s earlier warning to Louis of “Sometimes, dead is better” holds great plausibility. In this new age of reboots and reimaginings, it’s crucially important to remain faithful to any source material of a favorite written account, but also to add a necessary twist here and there without losing its footing in the narrative.
While this adaptation holds much sacred to the baseline of King’s famed novel, it also occasionally loses its own footing amidst the tangled deadfall of liberties taken. But then again, sometimes… a reimagining is better.