PET SEMATARY TELLS THE STORY OF JUD CRANDALL AND HIS LIFE BEFORE STEPHEN KING’S NOVEL OF THE SAME NAME.
We step into the small community of Ludlow, Maine (A favorite location of King’s and the location of the first movie). This time, years ahead of Louis Creed and his family, and instead to Crandall’s (Jackson White) youth. Respectively, Jud was played by the classic Fred Gwynne in the original film, and John Lithgow (Dexter among many others.) in the remake.
EXPANDING SMALLER CHARACTERS.
His future wife Norma also makes an appearance in the prequel, played as a free spirit by (Natalie Alyn Lind). It doesn’t take long for the supernatural problems to start finding people left and right. David Duchovny (X-Files), portrays Bill Baterman, a desperate father with a terrible secret. His son Timmy Baterman, a friend of Jud’s has died in combat and been brought back by his father. Of course, despite the love that his father has, sometimes dead is better.
SOMETIMES, DEAD IS BETTER.
From the moment Bill buries his son, and the moment he grabs the family dog (also turning him into a zombie.)
ANIMAL DEATHS ARE SUBTLE.
Most animal deaths are off-screen and only discussed in dialogue, aside from an unrecognizable corpse of something that has been torn apart on the farm. It is part of a growing trend in horror movies and not using a gory animal death to tell a story. As the story progresses, something is terribly wrong with Timmy. Stalking former friends, tearing things to shreds, and stabbing out of instinct. The former soldier keeps repeating ‘Timmy isn’t here.’, alerting us that the Wendigo has once again possessed a once innocent soul.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.
What I like about this movie is that it further shows more about the real history of Ludlow and the Mi’kmaq tribe who used animals in order to protect themselves from the evil Wendigo of the sour land. Jud’s family way back in the colonial days was part of the founding fathers of the land, and they continued to protect it for generations to come. Despite wanting to give his son a good life, keeping such a terrible secret does eventually bite them all in the ass.
FAMILY ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
Unfortunately, after the murder at Timmy’s hands of a local Native American Donna Rivers (Isabella LaBlanc), she too comes back to haunt everyone in her path, including tormenting her brother Manny Rivers (Forrest Goodluck) and even coming after a heavily injured Norma in a mental hospital. A comedic cameo of Pam Grier is also shown in the form of a disgruntled mail lady who finally puts down the demon dog (off-screen.), but unfortunately, she too meets her end. Eventually, Jud’s father is killed, as well as one by one the founding fathers are as well. Baterman is the last one who finally realizes that his son is no longer anything more than an evil corpse and unfortunately, meets death at the hands of his own son. With Manny having to put down his own sister, he continues to help what’s left of the survivors, until Timmy finally meets his end in a swamp.
If you liked the novel and the original movie, you’ll dig this. While the remake’s ending wasn’t exactly true to the source material (alas, Church sort of living is fine with me. The morphine scene was not my favorite.), Bloodlines stays true to the material, expanding on the land’s history and smaller characters.
You can find Pet Sematary: Bloodlines on Paramount +.
About the author: Katie Harden is a professionally repped New York-based/bi-coastal musical theater, entertainment journalist, and indie film actress. She is proudly part of the Actor’s Equity Association and frequently interviews colleagues, friends, and celebrities, along with reviewing television and movies. Find her at the bottom of a can of Arizona sweet tea or in the ocean! @KHardenOfficial