Creepy intimations of death and reincarnation
Stephen King’s resurgence continues with the release of Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s spooky revival of “Pet Sematary” 30 years after it was first adapted for the big screen.
Initially, the author balked at the idea of having it published because he felt he had gone “too far” by allowing his creepy intimations of death and reincarnation to spiral downward into darkness.
He has even stated on record that, of all the novels he has written, “Pet Sematary” is the one that scared him the most—with good reason. The timelessness and relevance of the themes he tackles demonstrate why his novels, despite their “popular” appeal, can also be taken seriously.
Onscreen, his stories provide a wide canvas for contemporary directors to “paint” on. As proven by the recent likes of “It,” “Carrie” and “Gerald’s Game,” they’re almost always open to storytelling innovation and interpretation.
The latest incarnation of “Pet Sematary,” despite its low-key beginning, is no exception. The jump scares aren’t sudden and deliberate, but the movie’s ability to cause deep and increasing concern lingers like the innermost fears and dark thoughts we conveniently sweep under the rug.
This time, even a loved one’s appeal for hugs, or the clicking of an automatic car door can haunt you.
The horror begins when Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their young kids, Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie), move some 350 miles away from the intoxicating hustle-and-bustle of Boston to live a simpler life in a rustic old town in Maine.
The Creeds’ strange but friendly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) warns them not to venture beyond the so-called Pet Sematary located just a few yards away from their backyard. Behind it is an ancient burial ground reportedly used by Micmac Indians to bring their dead loved ones back to life. It is said to be inhabited by a malevolent spirit called Wendigo.
But the unexpected demise of Church, Ellie’s beloved cat, sets off a series of events that comes with tragic consequences.
Unable to leave well enough alone, Louis goes off the deep end and belatedly realizes that messing with the natural order of things has dire, even catastrophic, repercussions.
Soon, Ellie’s mangy cat coming back from the dead becomes the least of Louis’ worries!
Allen times two
Ralston Jover’s Sinag Maynila entry, “Persons of Interest,” is weighed down by its inability to fully realize the compelling premise that makes its tale initially appealing.
It tells the story of blind carinderia chef Ramil Mallari (Allen Dizon), who is hauled off to prison after he is accused of poisoning his much-older lover, Dely Matias (Liza Lorena).
Using innovative but injudiciously utilized storytelling ploys, Jover examines the complicated events surrounding what looks like a crime of passion. Dely keels over just days after she catches Ramil in bed with Doray (Ireen Cervantes), his son Tristan’s (Ynigo Delen) sexually needy nanny.
But, when Jover revisits the scene of the crime after introducing an abridged version of the story, viewers realize there’s more to Ramil’s “crime” than meets the eye.
Allen quite convincingly delivers his latest iteration of the Everyman character that suits his acting skills to a T. The fact that he plays two characters—yes, it’s a dual role—increases the degree of difficulty that makes his thespic feat even more impressive.
Liza does even better. Her portrayal comes off with nary a trace of skin-deep pretense or play-acting artifice. But both Liza and Allen are ultimately weighed down by an awkwardly developed progression that confounds more than it clarifies.
It’s a bold move but, more than anything, “Persons of Interest” is a botched experiment.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.