Friday, 21 June 2013

Pet Sematary (1989) - ★½

Director: Mary Lambert
Writers: Stephen King (Novel and Screenplay)
Stars: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist, Miko Hughes, Blaze Berdahl

I'm at a loss for words to describe how bad this movie is. The acting is so bad that I was either gritting my teeth or laughing my ass off the whole way through. It isn't the least bit scary, with minimal suspense and thrill. The special effects are atrocious at times, but what can you expect from a B-grade horror movie from the 80s? The story is actually pretty awesome, it's just executed terribly in every possible way. For me, the one redeeming factor is that Fred Gwynne (AKA, Herman Munster) is in this movie! Pet Sematary is a classic, but it's actually a terrible film.

So this family moves to a new house in a small town somewhere off the beaten track I'm guessing. The road they live on has trucks blaring past at crazy speeds, which is perfect for a family with two small children and a cat! Anyway, this old guy who lives next door greets them and shows them the Pet Sematary located near their house. Further along there's an Indian burial ground, "that's evil, where the soil has gone sour." If you bury a pet or a person there, they come back to life in some kind of demonic, zombielike form. This movie could have been pretty scary and highly interesting, but it just wasn't.

This cat is a better actor than the rest of the cast!
First of all, there's no chemistry between any of the family members. They're all awkward and unconvincing, which pretty much describes the whole movie. Dale Midkiff played the father, and my God was he atrocious. He should have won a Razzie for Worst Actor in 1989. His monotone voice, emotionless face, and god-awful dialogue was ultimately the worst thing about the movie. However, the mother, played by Denise Crosby, was almost as bad. She has a cold face, which consequently makes her such an unconvincing mother and wife. Together, they both overacted and underacted to the point where it was excruciating to watch.

Fred Gwynne on the other hand was fantastic. He's the life and soul of the movie, being the one redeeming factor I can find. He's the icon in Pet Sematary, the one memorable thing in the film. If I were to mention one other good performance, it would have to be the demonic-possessed cat! Together, these two acted circles around the rest of the cast.

I know people who like this movie, whether it be because of the soundtrack featuring The Ramones, or because they love all things Stephen King. I just couldn't get into it. You're waiting for something exciting to happen that never comes. While the story is awesome, Mary Lambert just couldn't adapt it coherently to screen. The dialogue was cringe-worthy, the acting stunk, and I was just plain bored for the most part. I wanted to like this movie, but unfortunately it was terrible in practically every way a movie can be.

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