Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Pet Sematary II

Year: 1992
Director: Mary Lambert
Screenplay: Richard Outten
Starring: Anthony Edwards, Edward Furlong, Clancy Brown, Jared Rushton, Darlanne Fluegel, Jason McGuire and Lisa Waltz
Running Time: 100 minutes
Genre: Horror, supernatural

Summary: Following the accidental death of his actress mother (Fluegel), teenager Jeff Matthews (Furlong) moves with his vetenarian father, Chase (Edwards), from Los Angeles to the small town of Ludlow in Maine. Bullied at school, Jeff strikes up a friendship with overweight Drew (McGuire), who is constantly bullied by his cruel stepfather Gus (Brown), who also happens to be the town's sheriff. Jeff discovers the town's pet cemetery, or "Pet Sematary" as the homemade board above the entrance reads, where generations of the town's children have buried their pets. When Gus shoots and kills Drew's beloved dog Zowie, Drew and Jeff bury him in another burial ground, just past the pet cemetery, an ancient Native American burial ground which has the power to resurrect the dead. However the dead that are buried in the ancient ground always come back horribly changed.

Opinions: This film is a sequel to the 1989 film Pet Sematary, also directed by Mary Lambert, which was based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King. King had nothing to do with this film. The events of the first film are briefly discussed in this one, having apparently become something of a local ghost story, and it is in a way understandable why the film-makers would not want to remind people too much of the earlier, and far superior, film. The movie jettisons the first film's creepy atmosphere in favour of over-the-top gory shocks. One of the things that was so effective about the first film was the way it touched upon very raw nerves, this one does to some extent but it doesn't have nearly the same impact and seems to go mostly tongue in cheek approach, even when dealing with quite serious elements. The cast is full of recognisable faces, which means that when the film lags you can play a fun game of "Wasn't He the Guy In...?", Edward Furlong (who found fame the previous year with Terminator 2: Judgement Day) does pretty well in the lead even though the character, despite any naural sympathy for his initial predicament, remains pretty unlikeable throughout. Anthony Edwards (who came to prominence in the TV series E.R. (1994-2008)) is underused as the concerned father, while Clancy Brown (who is probably most recognisable as the bullying head guard in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and as the drill sergeant in Starship Troopers (1997)) practically chews up the scenary, serving up thick slices of ham as the bullying stepfather. The film has some pretty effective special effects and plenty of good gore, but by the time the blood filled finale comes the film has just gone so over the top it just ends up being funny. It is also fair to say that the film is not in the least scary.
Fans of the original will probably be disappointed but those who enjoy gory horror sequels might have some fun with it. For anyone else though, life is too short. Check out the original instead.

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