Stephen King’s works have inspired lots of kinds of media, from music, TV shows, films, and yes, terrible, terrible sequels. Typically only lightly linked back to King’s original works, these sequels typically work off an original script written by people who couldn’t write themselves out of a haunted paper bag. Case in point, Richard Outten who is the writer of this nightmare also wrote the Little Nemo movie and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. This is going to be a particularly bad one.
Let’s take a look at Pet Sematary Two.
For those of you who didn’t watch the first Pet Sematary, long story short: a doctor and his family move to a small town in Maine where behind their house there’s an ancient Indian burial ground where whatever you bury comes back to life except evil. The doctor buries his family cat, but then the burial ground get greedy and leads to the death of the doctor’s son who he even buries. The son kills the kindly neighbor and his own mother before the doctor can kill him. But then, of course, already driven mad, he buries his wife and it does not end well.
In the sequel, we only get a brief mention of the family’s horrible past and how they are all dead except the daughter because this had to be somehow linked back to the original, better movie. The plot here follows Jeff, whose veterinarian father moves him to the same small town in Maine after his mother is brutally killed on the set of her movie. Of course the sad and lonely fat kid with the abusive stepfather named Drew becomes his friend, and they bury Drew’s dog in the cemetery. It comes back and when Drew’s stepdad tries to beat him, the dog rips his throat out. Instead of just calling animal control, they decide, “Oh shit, we got to bury him so he’ll come back and be screwed.” Then the movie takes a turn for the uber disturbing as the stepdad comes back and is the creepiest homicide zombie ever, raping his wife, skinning animals alive, and, oh yeah, killing and bringing back the homicidal bully of his kid. Then, Jeff gets the great idea to bury his mom in the burial ground and it’s all downhill from there.
I will give the movie credit in that the re-animated stepdad is one of the creepiest villains ever. Played by Clancy Brown, who is about 20 times too good of an actor to be in this movie, there’s a real sense of foreboding and evil when he walks into the room and you dread every second the camera spends on him. The rest of the actors range from passable to pretty obnoxious, though Jeff’s whiny angst does at least seem kind of like a normal human reaction…if you squint hard enough. The most disappointing performance is from Darlanne Fluegel as the deceased mother who doesn’t come off nearly as disturbing or deathly as Clancy Brown and just feels like a drag on the movie at the end.
The worst part is the writing, both it set up and dialogue, is absolutely atrocious. The dialogue between characters is either overly whiny or completely stilted, as is either case with Jeff and his father. The set-ups are also pretty stupid. The stepdad gets murdered by the zombie dog which would, in fact, solve all of Drew’s problems: abusive stepdad is out of the picture and the dog will get put down by Animal Control, no harm, no fowl. Sure, there’s the reasoning from the first movie that burying the bodies is like doing drugs and you get instantly hooked, but they never bring it up in the sequel so it makes no sense. Also, why are the bullies so keen to KILL Jeff? Not maim, not torture but full on murder him? Do people have bullies like this in Maine? Not to mention some of the deaths are absolutely ridiculous. Even if Jeff’s mom being electrocuted by a prop fence is dumb enough, someone literally had to write the scene where a rape victim and her terrified son get crushed to death by potatoes.
The cinematography is actually pretty spot on for a sequel, meaning that there are times where it looks a little bit like a TV movie but overall looks pretty clean. The scary scenes are well shot, well edited with some strong music, lighting and make-up choices (yes, these things are important) which are just unfortunately sandwiched between some really poorly written scenes that ruins them. Honestly, in the hands of a better writer, this quality of the production itself could have salvaged a slightly less terrible movie.
Pet Sematary 2 is like someone buried the first movie and this is the piece of shit that came out. It is honestly one of the most absolutely ridiculous horror movies I have ever seen. But here’s the thing, some parts of it are actually scarier and creepier than some of the better Stephen King movies. While some people would see this as some redeeming feature of an otherwise terrible movie, I see it as a glimpse of the great film this piece of crap could have been, a testament of ruined potential, which just makes me hate it more. Pet Sematary deserves better.
– Excellent performance by Clancy Brown.
– Good cinematography.
– Some good scares.
– Bad acting overall.
– Bad writing.
– Poor film overall.