Much like the resurrected corpses in Stephen King’s story, Pet Sematary returns to movie theaters 30 years later to once again terrorize horror fans. But sometimes, dead really is better.
Stephen King adaptations have been popular for many years, appearing on the big and small screens for more than three decades already. In fact, the release of this Sematary remake will be the 68th big-screen adaptation (with six more in various stages of development in the coming years) to hit movie theaters — and that doesn’t include any of the 34 small-screen releases. All of that is to say Stephen King’s a creative storyteller. But is this reboot really necessary?
If the horror fans who made the big-screen version of Pennywise a hit at the box office two years ago have anything to say about it, they’ll probably return on April 5th, curious as to how this remake compares. Fans of creepy, iconic ’80s movies might pass on seeing it. When considering the totality of the author’s works, many of which have yet to be adapted, so why see the same movie twice?
I get it, remakes and sequels are inevitable in this day and age, but how many King movies have flopped recently? Maybe The Dark Tower is a big example why filmmakers aren’t brave enough to tackle some of King’s newer material. Maybe they don’t really understand his stories. I’m a little curious as to why King hasn’t really ventured into screenwriting, virtually guaranteeing the adaptations will stay true to his material.
If a good director gets attached to adapt one of King’s books, good things tend to happen. Naturally. Brian De Palma (Carrie), Stanley Kubrick (The Shining), George Romero (Creepshow), David Cronenberg (The Dead Zone), Rob Reiner (Stand By Me, Misery) and Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) were all successful at the box office. But for every good director attached to one of King’s properties, there’s two to three average ones missing the mark.
Which brings us back to Pet Sematary. I proceed with cautious optimism, after watching the teaser trailer, that this will be a good movie. Having not one, but two directors sharing duties might be cause for alarm, because I don’t believe I’ve seen anything by either one — I guess Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer work well together, as they both contributed to Scream: The TV Series, Holidays, Absence, Starry Eyes and Mama 2. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has more name recognition, having recently released The Meg and Bumblebee, among other franchise films. I really didn’t know anything about Andy Muschietti before enjoying his version of It, so I guess it’s possible for an unknown director to knock their first attempt at a big-screen movie out of the park.
Adding supernatural elements into horror and thriller stories seems to be one of Stephen King’s specialties, so obviously we’ll be covering the upcoming movie’s release. And since Pet Sematary will be released almost exactly 30 years to the day that the original graced the big screen in 1989, comparisons will naturally be made. Hopefully, this one will be good. If not, maybe leaving the adaptation for this story alone, back in the ’80s — you know, dead — is actually better.