When I talk to most millennial Stephen King fans, it's surprisingly not the critically acclaimed "Carrie" or "The Shining" they mention as their favorite film adaptation, but "Pet Sematary" - perhaps because it played so often on cable in the early 90's? Still, I find this holds up: the simplicity and purity of King's narrative embellished by Lambert's slick music video sensibility and some stellar production design.
'..sometimes dead is better...' Effective adaptation of the Stephen King novel holds up pretty well with serviceable direction by Mary Lambert and some memorable horror sequences. The main strike against the film is the lead turn by Dale Midkiff who is just awful throughout. Fairing better is Denise Crosby and the child actors. A good example of 80's style pop horror.
Lambert's direction is static and in-distinctive. The script (oddly by King himself) doesn't always lineup its comedy, horror, and dramatic tones, feeling like the desired emotion is contradictory to the one that's actually acquired. Gwynne is the only main cast member who leaves an impression. The fearpieces semi-work due to concept (Zelda/Gage's slashing) but the remake hopefully will make them work on all counts.
For a predictable kitsch horror, it can really make you shudder sometimes. Full of so many creepy and silly characters, the one that bored me to death is the little girl Ellie - gurl, nobody cares about you, stop trying to get attention with those premonitions that already have happened.
This feels like a disney channel halloween movie for adults. I liked exploring the themes of death (and particularly fear & acceptance thereof), especially in the social context of family, but it just fell waay short for me. However, if you don't take it seriously at all, it can be a pretty fun watch, so 2.5 (also for the Zelda scenes which I thought were pretty great).
Mary Lambert's direction of this film is serviceable and workmanlike. The performances range from adequate to outright terrible. At times this almost feels like a television movie. However, the primal terror and creeping dread of King's seminal work still claws it's way to the surface. At it's best the film manages to convey some of the cold, shivery fear of the novel. The Zelda sequences are pure nightmare fuel.