Church isn't for Everyone
"Sometimes dead is better."
Imagine yourself a child again, and you wander into your favorite mom-and-pop candy store. The aroma of cocoa teases your nostrils as you saunter into a shop selling Willy Wonka sweets. Your go-to candy bar of choice is a rich, smooth and delicious Wonka Bar made of milk chocolate. It hits the spot every time, but on this particular trip you feel like indulging in a Wonka with a little more oomph to it.
Perhaps, you should choose one of Wonka’s Scrumpdiddlyumptious bars. It’s a tiny bit different from the original, but surprisingly superior, nonetheless. No, that won't do. You want something even more outlandish and extraordinary, something 30 years in the making.
Today, you’re going to spend your hard-earned allowance on the ultimate Wonka wonder: an Everlasting Gobstopper. And, in your wildest fantasies, you never expect the Gobstopper to surpass the Wonka and Scrumpdiddlyumptious bars.
But it does.
This allegory will not be lost on fans of Stephen King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary and the subsequent adaptations in 1989 and now 30 years later. What might surprise purists of King and his literary marvels is the Gobstopper in this story is the 2019 remake/reimagining by filmmakers Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Scream: The TV Series).
The new Pet Sematary, particularly its stunning ending, will petrify patrons!
The three most intriguing characters of the film, in order of importance, are Ellie (Jete Laurence) — this child actress has a marvelous future in front of her — Louis (Jason Clarke) and Church the cat. In addition to these mesmerizing on-screen performances — yes, even the kitty cat from hell — the haunting imagery of the children in their masks, and the superb cinematography, gives Pet Sematary its creepily creative vibe. The story is still solid, but the narrative has been tweaked a tiny bit.
The decision to change destiny in Pet Sematary, with respect to having the older child Ellie be the primary antagonist, allows young actress Jete Laurence the chance to shine brighter than a super nova. A three-year-old Gage simply couldn’t converse and emote in the same way Ellie does so brilliantly with her father. The scenes after Ellie first returns from the grave might be the best moments of the whole film.
Laurence’s exquisite performance as both the kind-hearted offspring of Louis and Rachel (Amy Seimetz), alongside her chilling portrayal of the murderous Wendigo, carries the film.
But having Ellie take Gage’s place was intended to shock faithful followers of the 1989 movie.
“It was meant to be fun for the fans of the original movie that we had switched it up on them,” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained in an interview. “We weren’t expecting marketing to put it in a trailer.”
The real shock for enthusiasts of the original motion picture, and those fortunate enough to have bought tickets, comes at the end of the 2019 Pet Sematary with its new and utterly terrifying resolution. With the help of Rachel’s reanimated body, Ellie successfully defeats her father. As Gage helplessly beholds from the inside of the family car, his mother, father and sister lumber ever closer to the defenseless child.
They have all fallen victim to the Wendigo, and it is Gage’s turn to succumb to the murderous madness as the screen fades to black.
In a stunning turn, and in stark contrast to 1989’s Pet Sematary, Gage goes from the villain to the victim. Undoubtedly, some audiences will take exception with a young child being murdered by his whole family, even though the death isn’t shown on screen, but Pet Sematary is a macabre movie for a reason. And it’s a grand entry in the horror genre.
This reimagining not only surpasses its 30-year-old counterpart, but it challenges the brilliance of the source material.
That said, Church isn’t for everyone.