Why Did The Creators Of Pet Sematary (2019) Distorted The Book Of Stephen King? The Film “Pet Cemetery”, Plot Analysis & Meaning Of The Thriller, Explanation Of The Ending, Similar Films.
Genre: mystical thriller, adaptation of the novel, horror, drama
Year of production: 2019
Director: Kevin Kolsh, Dennis Widmyer
Actors: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence
tagline: The dead must stay dead
Pet Sematary (2019) is the second adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. This is a mystical story about the resurrection of the dead, which makes you think about deep life values. The plot and meaning of the film “Pet Cemetery” is that death is a natural part of existence and one must be able to accept it without trying to deceive fate.
Screen adaptation of Stephen King’s book
The 2019 version of Pet Sematary is considered a remake of the first, original film adaptation directed by Mary Lambert in 1989. King personally worked on his script, chose the locations for filming himself, and even took part in the film as a priest. It was the film adaptation of the 89th that became a cult and was subjected to analysis for many years after the release. The film had a lot of deep, philosophical dialogues between the characters, making you think about life and death, penetrating through.
Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed’s mother, Jason Clarke as Louis Creed, Jete Laurence as their daughter Ellie. Frame from the film.
The 2019 treatment received more negative reviews due to many discrepancies with both the first film and King’s novel. At the same time, the master himself praised the remake, giving it an assessment – “grown up, adult cinema.” Of the main differences from the original: the characters are reversed (in the book and the first film, the young son of the Gage spouses dies), then the resurrected boy kills his neighbor and his mother. The head of the family burns down the house and gives Gage a fatal injection, reburies his wife. She resurrects and kills him with a knife.
What is the movie about
The first frames of the film are frightening and tune in to a mystical wave. A house is on fire in the middle of the forest. Nearby is an open car with traces of blood on the side glass. The trail of blood leads to a wooden building, not a single soul around. The meaning of all this will be clear only at the end of the film.
A family arrives in the small town of Ludlow: father Louis Creed, a former emergency doctor, mother Rachel, their 8-year-old daughter Ellie and 2-year-old son Gage. Also with them is a cat named Church. They settle in a spacious house on the outskirts of the forest. Standing by the car, Ellie and her mother see an unusual procession pass by the house: children in animal masks are carrying a dead dog in a wheelbarrow. After sneaking into the woods, Ellie finds a pet cemetery there.
In the thicket, the girl meets an old man who introduces himself as their neighbor Jud. The man tells Ellie that pets are brought here from all over the area. Jud shows the girl the grave of his dog Biffer. At home, the girl asks where pets go after death. Ellie’s mother Rachel begins to tell that all souls go to heaven and then look after the living. Left alone, the couple argue. Louis does not believe in life after death and believes that it is time for his daughter to find out the truth. Rachel disagrees, she says that death is something a child shouldn’t know about.
John Lithgow as Jud Crandell and Jete Laurence as Ellie. Frame from the film.
In the clinic where Louis got a job, they bring student Victor Paskow, hit by a car. He is in serious condition, his head is pierced, the injuries are incompatible with life. The doctor tries to save the guy, but to no avail – he dies. At night, Luis dreams of Victor leading him into the woods and saying, “You tried to help me, now let me help you. Here the dead rest, and there the dead roam. Stop! The soil is rotten!” Luis wakes up to find his feet covered in dirt.
Judd and Louis find Church’s dead body near the road. The cat was hit by a truck. Louis is confused. He doesn’t know how to tell his daughter the truth. Jud says they will bury the cat together tonight. When it gets dark, the men go to the pet cemetery, carrying Church in a sack. And then Judd asks: “Ellie really loved this cat, right?” Louis replies, “More than anything.” Then Judd says, “Don’t bury it here. Follow me”.
The old man takes Louis far into the woods and tells him to bury Church there. When it’s all over, Jud says, “Well done. I didn’t doubt you.” The next day, Louis and Rachel tell Ellie that Church is lost.
But the girl says she saw a cat on the window. When her parents convince her that she imagined it, Ellie exclaims: “Yes, there he is!”. Opening the closet door, Louis sees a cat. Rachel is horrified. Finally, so as not to frighten his wife, the doctor says: “He was probably just unconscious or in shock.”
Frame from the film.
Louis goes to Jud for an explanation. He insists that he saw the cat dead. Then Jad says, “There are places in the world that are older than both of us. And there, in the rotten rocky soil, something happens that the specific brain of a doctor will never understand. The human heart is stone, Louis. What we did last night was for Ellie. But now it’s your cat.”
Jud’s words haunt Louis. He searches the Internet for a description of a place near his house. It turns out that these are the lands of the spirit of Wendigo, and the cemetery has been called the “swamp of the little god” for centuries. This is confirmed by Jad, talking about the ancient tribes who lived in these parts, who knew how to resurrect the dead. Meanwhile, Ellie tries to comb Church, but he suddenly attacks her and severely injures her arm.
It becomes obvious that Church is no longer the same cat he used to be. He is aggressive and looks like the walking dead. Louis tells this to Jud, who says he doesn’t know the answer. That same day, Louis finds Church in baby Gage’s crib. The cat almost attacked the child. Then the man realizes that Church needs to be killed. Unable to inject him with a lethal dose of sleeping pills, the man takes the cat away from the city and releases it in the middle of the highway.
Ellie has a birthday. The table is set in the yard, the guests are having fun. Suddenly, approaching the road, the girl sees Church. She joyfully runs towards him, followed by baby Gage. Louis sees his son, but not Ellie. And then a car approaches. He rushes forward and manages to grab the boy from under the wheels. The truck sweeps Ellie away. Louis walks around the car and sees Rachel crying with her dead daughter in her arms.
Frame from the film.
After burying Ellie, Louis is left alone in the house. Rachel and the baby go to her parents, and he says that he wants to solve some things with the house. The couple decide to sell it. In fact, Louis did not come to terms with the death of his daughter. Judd realizes what the neighbor is about to do and tries to dissuade him. Then the doctor pumps the old man with sleeping pills, and he goes to the cemetery and digs Ellie out of the grave.
He reburies the girl in the same place where he buried Church earlier, and returns home. Ellie is coming tomorrow. Louis is happy to have his daughter back. He hides Ellie in the house, and does not confess what he did to Jad when he comes to him.
But the old man sees the girl in the window and understands everything. He decides to quickly kill the resurrected evil spirits and grabs a gun, but does not have time – Ellie is already in his house. She brutally kills the old man with a knife.
Rachel returns with Gage. She senses something is wrong with Luis. Entering the house, she sees Ellie. Luis tries to explain everything to her, he says: “This is our daughter. She is with us again.” But Rachel pushes Ellie away and screams that it’s not her daughter. Then the girl says to Louis: “Mom is not happy with me. Nothing. I’m not happy with her either.” Grabbing a scalpel, Ellie goes upstairs to her mother’s room and attacks her.
Rachel, realizing that Ellie will finish her off, grabs Gage in her arms and yells at Louis, who is standing below, “Take the baby. Ellie is here. She is killing me.” Louis catches the baby, Ellie pounces on the mother and stabs her with a knife. She then drags her mother to the pet cemetery and buries her there. Luis, in search of his daughter, runs into the forest, after closing Gage in the car.
At the cemetery, Ellie comes out to him with a knife and attacks. The man fights back, almost defeating his daughter, and suddenly an iron pin pierces him from behind. This is the resurrected Rachel. At the end, the three of them come out of the woods and head to the car. Gage sits inside, looking at them and waving.
Stephen King is a master of “open” endings, when the viewer can think of the ending himself, describe it in different colors. The 2019 movie Pet Sematary has a very different ending from the book. It is actually invented by the writers. A boy, sitting in a locked car, sees his mother, father and older sister approaching him. But these are no longer living people, but the risen dead. In the last shots, the baby just looks at his family without opening the door for them.
The filmmakers deliberately made such changes and even gave an explanation for the ending. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said in an interview that an unequivocal ending like King’s would put an end to the plot, preventing the story from continuing. The authors also planned to shoot a sequel to the film.
The author of the book, however, was not against these discrepancies with the original. The meaning of the ending of the film “Pet Cemetery” in any version suggests the triumph of death over life, the inability to resist it.
Frame from the film.
The meaning of the film
The essence of the film is that everyone is destined to die, and that’s okay. Do not be afraid of death or try to avoid it. As difficult as it may be, it must be recognized that the dead must remain dead. This is the idea and the hidden meaning of the whole plot. Rachel can not let go of her dead sister, Louis does not put up with the death of his daughter. This is what they will have to pay for.
The name of the cat Church is not a random detail. It means “church” in English. When the pet died, Louis, by his act, went against God, against the church and faith. He threw it all away from himself. The point is that you cannot change the laws of the universe, imagine yourself the Creator and try to bring back to life what is already dead forever.
Read the review of new horror films here.
- “Pet Cemetery 2”, USA, 1992. Despite the name, the film has nothing to do with the adaptation of King. The content is similar: father and son move into a house near the cemetery of the ancient Indians, where unexpected acquaintances and terrible discoveries await them.
- “The Amityville Horror”, USA, 2005. George and Katie buy a cheap house in the town of Amityville, not realizing what a terrible drama played out in it a few years ago.
- “Thirteen Ghosts”, USA, Canada, 2001. After the death of his wife, the husband, left alone with two children, moves to an old house with a real collection of ghosts.
- “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, USA, Australia, Mexico, 2010. A young family settles in a 19th century mansion. Their little daughter Sally climbs into the basement and accidentally unleashes an ancient demon that has turned their lives into a nightmare.