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MOVIE REVIEW

Pet Sematary

also known as “Cementerio de animales,” “Cementerio Maldito,” “Cemitério Maldito,” “Cimitirul animalelor,” “Cyntoryn zvieratiek,” “Friedhof der Kuscheltiere,” “Groblje kućnih ljubimaca,” “Gyvuneliu kapines,” See more »
MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for horror violence, bloody images, and some language.

Reviewed by: Ruth Eshuis
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror Thriller Remake
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
April 5, 2019 (wide—3,585 theaters)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Resurrection of the dead, as discussed in the Bible

What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer

Fear of death

Death of pets

ORIGIN OF BAD THINGSWhy are they in our world? Answer

Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Death of daughter

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Copyright, Paramount Pictures

What are DEMONS? Answer

DEMON POSSESSSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

Copyright, Paramount Pictures

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Featuring: Jason ClarkeDr. Louis Creed
John LithgowJud Crandall
Amy SeimetzRachel Creed
Jeté LaurenceEllie Creed
See all »
Director: Kevin Kölsch
Dennis Widmyer
Producer: Alphaville Films
Paramount Pictures
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

This film is based on a Stephen King novel.

Looking for an evening thriller with some fun drama, heart-pumping danger and just enough real emotions to be touching? Hoping for one that avoids offense to God and His people? Then “Pet Sematary” is NOT the one for you.

A doctor named Lewis and his picture-perfect family of 4 shift to the country for an escape from the busy city. Instead, they quickly learn from their elderly neighbor Jud that in the woods within their property lies a ‘Pet Sematary’ and beyond that, the frightening ‘Little God Swamp.’ In this place, littered with human bones, as bodies of beloved pets are offered into the earth a spell ‘brings back’ a distorted and murderous replacement that proceeds to cause chaos, guilt, terror and maximal pain culminating in death.

When Lewis’ family experiment with this ‘miraculous’ second chance, everything begins to turn sour. Initial shock gives way to mad panic that drives the grief-stricken parents to extreme actions. The only question is whether anything good could possibly come out of this.

All main characters seem lovely, at first, and are painted in vivid contrasts, from light cheerful outfits and homes to later dark colors, dirt and blood. Sadly, they are all overtaken by evil in some way. Parents are likable, but not presented as particularly good role models—they run away from their troubles, repeatedly lie, choose selfishly and are controlled by fears.

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Settings are typical to horror movies: a secluded and creaky wood cabin home, a dark and eerie forest, festering marsh hiding dark secrets and, of course, the graveyard. Other places visited include the local hospital and a home where long ago a family member died in a gruesome and troubling way.

Content of concern

I hardly know where to start in listing the moral and spiritual issues with this remake. The most basic issue for us is whether the truth of God is respected, but it (and He) is not. There are at least 5 misuses of God’s name, including one that is a direct and vicious threat to God and refers to ‘His… child’ (the Lord Jesus?). Church is also dubiously treated, as this is the name given to the family cat which features strongly. I won’t venture to guess at any meanings behind this. Spiritual realities such as Heaven, Hell and resurrection are discussed, but wrongly portrayed. Crucifix shapes appear two or three times—once in a bedroom, as a peaceful symbol, but twice as a symbol of death.

There is a long list of other concerning content and potential triggers for viewers:

  • Bad Language: “J*sus Chr*st,” “Oh J*sus,” “Chr*st’s sakes,” “Oh my G*d,” “Let God take his own f**king kid,” f-words (7), sh*t (5), b*tch (2), h*ll (4), g*dd*mn (4), d*mn (3)

    Please note that in context some of these outbursts are extremely offensive to Christ and Christians.

  • There is a lot of blood and violence. Fresh, dried, bloodied prints, gushing and cascading blood, exposed bone, brain matter, puncture wounds, hair ripping out of scalp, a body becomes deformed as we watch, staples hold a scalp together, scratches, beatings, bites, shovels, knives held to throats, stabbing frenzies…

  • Dead animals, one eaten alive and bloody, stag head mounted on a wall, eyeless animal masks, unclean and broken animals.

  • Hatred within family relationships (including multiple murder attempts from child to parent and parent to child), some extreme sibling rivalry, extreme parental grief, a child shouts insults at parent, a human grave is disturbed by a family member.

  • Climbing to heights, high-speed road accident, sudden loud noises, flashing and flickering lights, pitch black mystery areas

  • Whispered lies and accusations, anger, thoughts of vengeance, taunts about suffering Hell’s fires, flashbacks, nightmares.

  • Direct use of spirits and ghosts, a witch, Halloween, spells, new moon, full moon, superhuman strength for evil, murder, prayer that someone would die, delight in evil (e.g. “feasting on the dirt”), talk of evil’s power.

  • Smoking cigarettes is shown often. A drug is added to a victim’s alcohol–truth serum? Sleeping draught? And causes illness. Several types of alcohol are consumed, sometimes in large amounts, and spoken of lightly.

Beyond issues of content, “Pet Semetary” is not particularly well made. ‘Returned’ animals look more like toys than living creatures. A character’s wristwatch shows a completely wrong time. A body has not a mark or dent on it, despite just getting crushed. Characters’ emotions are well acted, but reasoning and origins are barely developed. Most disappointingly, there is a lack of any good triumphing over evil, and no good lesson for viewers to take home. Lighting, soundtrack and other effects are reasonable, but that’s not enough.

To sum up, even by horror movie standards, for Christians there are no redeeming features of “Pet Sematary,” and I recommend you save your money for a better film.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23 NIV

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.” —Psalm 101:3 NIV

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” —Philippians 4:8 ESV

  • Violence: Extreme
  • Occult: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy
  • Sex: Moderate— • man and woman in bed in foreplay (interrupted)
  • Nudity: Minor— • woman in panties and shirt • cleavage

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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Secular Movie Critics
…It’s ugly but not scary. It’s creepy but not chilling. It’s one of the least successful adaptations of a Stephen King story since …The last “Pet Sematary.” …
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
The new “Pet Sematary” Is dead in more ways than one… The story has enough pathos to fulfill the expectations of a great tragedy, but the film feels like a commercial for something else entirely. …[1½/4]
Richard Scott Larson, Slant
…This is what serious horror is like and it’s not for everyone. …
James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…It’s bold, nasty and gleefully disturbing, and will stay with you once the lights go up. …ends on a particularly grisly note…
Randy Cordova, The Republic (Phoenix AZ)
…a largely dreadful film… [1½]
Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com
…full of tasteless jokes and disgruntled cats… Bizarre quantities of action simply don’t connect to anything at all. … [2/5]
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…It’s not plot deviations from King’s novel that hamper Pet Sematary. It’s that, from early on, Kölsch and Widmyer, rely less on the detailed accumulation of atmosphere that King built his tale on, than jump cuts and music cues to build suspense. …
Jake Coyle, Associated Press
…the squeamish should know the movie is backloaded with stabby, graphic, slasher-movie content. …
Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News