A. Zombie Reviews . . . Pet Sematary II
By A. Zombie
Rated: R (Violence, adult language, sexuality, rape)
Starring: Edward Furlong, Anthony Edwards, Clancy Brown, Jared Rushton, Darlanne Fluegel
Synopsis: After his wife’s violent on-set death, veterinarian Chase Matthews and his son Jeff move to Ludlow to rebuild their lives away from Los Angeles. Harassed endlessly by the neighborhood kids, Jeff finds a friend in Drew Gilbert, who fears his abusive stepfather, Gus. After Gus murders Drew’s other best friend, his dog, the boys take the body to the nearby Indian burial grounds—rumored to resurrect any dead buried in the soil. When evil returns, the boys realize sometimes dead dogs should be left to lie.[Official Synopsis]
Because I wanted to question every decision I’ve made this week, I opted to pick what film to watch by drawing a title from a hat. The pickings weren’t great to begin with, given my options, but I believe I scraped the bottom of the barrel labeled “Trying Too Hard.”
The script came from someone who missed the mark in the struggle to create a comprehensive love note not only to Stephen King’s original Pet Sematary script, but his works in general. Bumping up the age of the children involved brought the interpersonal drama in line with what King fans found in IT and Carrie. Where the writing failed was when the bullying never panned out to anything except trauma-porn to make the script darker. There’s no satisfying end to the bullying where lessons are learned. It just keeps going until the movie has to end.
In order to make sure viewers know they’re watching a horror flick, it takes place over Halloween week. They also included far too many unnecessary quick camera jumps to mangled animals to make up for the lacking story line. Not to mention logic jumps beyond comprehension. The bad guy died. Two thirteen year old boys hauled him up that terrifying path—for non-readers, the path to the burial ground could kill you two-thousand different ways and no one would find your body—and then dug through hard as hell dirt up there? Add in the dog seemingly capable of teleporting, plus giving Chase sex dreams with his dead wife, and it’s too much. King’s books are weird, but animals don’t usually inspire sexy things.
Casting is one of the few things going for the movie. Furlong is appreciatively creepy. Edwards makes a decent straight guy facing all the weird. Clancy Brown is a personal favorite, though his character had no depth beyond being a bully. The supporting cast isn’t too shabby, either. Too bad they didn’t get a better script to work with.
The effects are on par with the original film. There may be a few more gallons of blood in the sequel. The major time effects failed was, unfortunately, in the opening death scene. Through no fault of the effects team, though; the sequence was about two minutes too long. Better editing would’ve made it far more jarring. There’s many instances where effects are overdone in an effort to shock. Again, this completely misses the mark trying to honor King’s work.
Overall I’m giving Pet Sematary II two mangled paws out of five. One for casting, one for the effort put into the effects. This is a pass for your animal horror movie marathons. Watch Cujo or the original Pet Sematary.