Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

2019, R, 101 min. Directed by Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer. Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, John Lithgow.

REVIEWED By Matthew Monagle, Fri., April 5, 2019

There may be more iconic Stephen King books than Pet Sematary, but almost none of his works so thoroughly captures the imagination of non-King readers. As Hollywood struggles to adapt or re-adapt as many of King’s novels as they can, Pet Sematary was always a natural fit for a big-budget revival. It also happens to be one of the better adaptations to hit the big screen.

After years of struggling to balance family and work, Louis (Clarke) and Rachel (Seimetz) move from Boston to a small town in Maine. Louis hopes that his new job as a college physician will mean shorter hours and less stress – that is, until a dying student issues a cryptic warning about the decades-old pet cemetery on his plot of land. Turning to his new neighbor Jud (Lithgow) for help after a family tragedy, Louis soon discovers that not every creature that dies in his new hometown stays dead for long.

If nothing else, Pet Sematary proves that Jason Clarke was born to play the father in a King adaption. Many of King’s characters allow themselves to be dragged into darkness by their guilty consciences; what makes someone like Louis Creed or Jack Torrance so terrifying is not the monster they become but the loving parent they once tried to be. With a filmography that is equal parts empathy and dull violence (he’s as prone to playing kindhearted leaders as he is domestic abusers ) Clarke is the perfect actor to make the transition from doting father to grief-stricken Frankenstein.

He’s not alone, either. Rachel’s traumatic childhood may still work best on paper – literary interiority does not always translate well to film – but Seimetz helps turn these series of flashbacks into one of the movie’s best sources of scares (one particular sequence involving a medicine cabinet will be remembered among the best of the year). And while Lithgow is unsurprisingly excellent as Jud, it’s the young actress Jeté Laurence who nearly steals the show. Pet Sematary puts a lot on her shoulders, but Laurence creates a rapport – with Lithgow especially – that roots everything that follows in a place of genuine love and affection.

These performances are especially crucial to this version of the story. As the duo behind 2009's Absence and 2014's Starry Eyes, Kölsch and Widmyer’s roots as independent horror filmmakers shine throughout the movie – for a big-budget film, this one moves with gleeful sadism that would be the envy of any festival darling – but the filmmakers never quite manage to connect the threads between grief and resurrection. We’re meant to feel this trauma as a poison that slowly infects the family as a whole. Allowing the pain to fester a bit more might have given the film the emotional push to match its impressive scares, but the cast is always present to pick up the slack.

It may seem damning with faint praise to call Pet Sematary just a pretty good horror film, but given how many years we’ve been devoid of quality Stephen King adaptations or wide-release genre films, fans should be pretty thrilled with what Kölsch and Widmyer have accomplished. There’s more than enough here to please horror enthusiasts and die-hard King fans alike.

For an interview with directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, visit austinchronicle.com/screens.

Showtimes

Mon., April 22

2:40, 5:30, 8:15, 11:00

Tue., April 23

2:40, 5:30, 8:15, 11:00

Wed., April 24

2:40, 5:30, 8:15, 11:00

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., April 22

11:50am, 2:35, 5:30, 8:15, 11:05

Tue., April 23

2:35, 5:30, 8:15, 11:05
AFA 11:50am

Wed., April 24

11:50am, 2:35, 5:25, 8:15, 11:05

Mon., April 22

1:55, 4:50, 8:00, 10:40

Tue., April 23

4:05, 6:45, 9:50
AFA 1:15

Wed., April 24

1:50, 4:45, 7:45, 10:25

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., April 22

11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:35, 10:20

Tue., April 23

2:40, 5:00, 9:00
AFA 11:45am

Wed., April 24

11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30

Thu., April 25

CC/DVS 10:50am, 1:20, 3:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., April 22

digital 12:20, 2:55, 5:40, 8:20, 11:00

Tue., April 23

digital 12:20, 2:55, 5:40, 8:20, 11:00

Wed., April 24

digital 12:20, 2:55, 5:40, 8:20, 11:00

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., April 22

digital 9:10am, 11:50am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:50

Tue., April 23

digital 11:50am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:00, 10:50

Wed., April 24

digital 11:50am, 2:30, 5:15, 10:50

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., April 22

digital 2:00, 4:40, 7:20, 9:50

Tue., April 23

digital 2:00, 4:40, 7:20, 9:50

Wed., April 24

digital 2:00, 4:40, 7:20, 9:50

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

digital 10:00am, 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:10, 10:35

Tue., April 23

digital 10:00am, 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:10, 10:35

Wed., April 24

digital 10:00am, 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:10, 10:35

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., April 22

4:25, 7:25, 10:15

Tue., April 23

4:25, 7:25, 10:15

Wed., April 24

4:25, 7:25, 10:15

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., April 22

11:20am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:00, 9:40

Tue., April 23

11:20am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:00, 9:40

Wed., April 24

11:20am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:00, 9:40

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., April 22

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., April 23

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., April 24

CC 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 10:00

Thu., April 25

CC 1:00, 4:00

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., April 22

CC 1:30, 4:30, 7:15, 10:15

Tue., April 23

CC 1:30, 4:30, 7:15, 10:15

Wed., April 24

CC 1:30, 4:30, 7:15, 10:15

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:50, 10:25

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:50, 10:25

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:50, 10:25

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., April 22

2:25, 4:40, 7:25

Tue., April 23

2:25, 4:40, 7:25

Wed., April 24

2:25, 4:40, 7:25

Thu., April 25

2:25

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:45, 5:25, 8:05, 10:45

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., April 22

10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 10:45

Tue., April 23

10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 10:45

Wed., April 24

10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 10:45

Thu., April 25

12:00, 2:45, 11:40

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., April 22

11:45am, 2:40, 5:35, 8:30

Tue., April 23

11:45am, 2:40, 5:35, 8:30

Wed., April 24

12:10, 2:05, 5:35, 8:30

Thu., April 25

12:35, 1:35, 3:30

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Mon., April 22

7:20, 10:05

Tue., April 23

7:20, 10:05

Wed., April 24

7:20, 10:05

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Mon., April 22

4:30

Tue., April 23

4:30

Wed., April 24

4:30

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., April 22

11:35am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:25

Tue., April 23

11:35am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:25

Wed., April 24

11:35am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:25

Mon., April 22

4:45, 7:30, 10:30

Tue., April 23

4:45, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., April 24

4:45, 7:30, 10:30

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., April 22

12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:30

Tue., April 23

12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:30

Wed., April 24

12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:30

Thu., April 25

12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:30

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:50, 10:15

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:50, 10:15

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:50, 10:15

Thu., April 25

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:15, 4:40

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Pet Sematary, Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer, Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, John Lithgow

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