Pet Sematary (2019 film)

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Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary (2019 poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Kevin Kölsch
  • Dennis Widmyer
Screenplay byJeff Buhler
Story byMatt Greenberg
Based onPet Sematary
by Stephen King
Produced by
CinematographyLaurie Rose
Edited bySarah Broshar
Music byChristopher Young
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • March 16, 2019 (2019-03-16) (SXSW)
  • April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$21 million[2]
Box office$113.1 million[2]

Pet Sematary is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler, from a screen story by Matt Greenberg. It is the second adaptation of the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King, and a remake to the 1989 film. The film stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, and follows a family that discovers a mysterious graveyard in the woods behind their new home.

Talks for a new adaptation of Pet Sematary began in March 2010, with Greenberg initially writing the screenplay. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider were revealed to be producing the remake with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo in talks to direct it. By December 2017, Paramount Pictures had greenlit this new film version of King's novel, with duo filmmakers Kölsch and Widmyer directing. Principal photography commenced on June 18, 2018, in Montreal and Hudson, Quebec, Canada, and wrapped on August 11, 2018.

Pet Sematary premiered at South by Southwest festival on March 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2019, by Paramount Pictures. The film grossed over $113 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the dark tone, atmosphere and performances, but disliked the slow pacing and reliance on jump scares. Critics and audiences were both divided on the changes between the film and book, though many named it better than the 1989 adaptation.[3][4][5]


After being evicted from their home, Louis Creed, an ER doctor from Boston, Massachusetts, moves to the small town of Ludlow, Maine with his wife, Rachel, their two young children, Ellie and Gage, and Ellie's pet cat, Church. Exploring the woods, Rachel and Ellie stumble across a funeral procession of children taking a dead dog to a cemetery called "Pet Sematary." At the university hospital, Louis is left shaken after failing to save the life of Victor Pascow, a student who was fatally injured after being struck and dragged by a vehicle. He later experiences a vivid dream in which Victor leads him to the deadfall at the back of the cemetery and warns him not to "venture beyond." Louis awakens to find his feet and sheets caked in mud, suggesting that the events were more than just a nightmare.

On Halloween, Church is killed by a truck. Jud Crandall, their neighbor who has a soft spot for Ellie, takes Louis past the pet cemetery to an ancient burial ground to bury Church. The next day, Louis is stunned when Church returns home alive, though he is different: aggressive and violent, tearing apart a bird and eating it alive. Jud reveals to Louis that the burial ground brings things back from the dead and is believed to be inhabited by a spirit known as the Wendigo. He apologizes, having thought Church would return the same. After Church attacks Gage, Louis tries to kill him and he fails. So he decides to set him free in the wild.

During her birthday party, Ellie spots Church on the road and excitedly rushes to him, but is hit and killed by a derailed tanker truck. The family is devastated, and Rachel and Gage leave to spend a few days with Rachel's parents. Sensing that Louis is planning on resurrecting Ellie, Jud warns the grieving father that "sometimes dead is better." Though Victor's spirit similarly warns him, Louis's grief spurs him to carry out his plan. He drugs Jud, exhumes Ellie's corpse, and reburies her in the animal graveyard as the Wendigo looks on. Ellie rises from the dead but manifests a disturbing demeanor.

Meanwhile, Rachel is frightened by visions of her dead sister Zelda, who suffered from spinal meningitis and died after falling down a dumbwaiter shaft. Gage is also frightened by the ghost of Victor who tries to warn him about going home. Jud wakes up and spots Ellie in the house. He flees home in horror to retrieve his revolver, but Jud, distracted by a growling Church, allows Ellie to surprise him on the stairwell—slicing through Jud's Achilles tendon with a scalpel and taunting him with the voice of his dead wife before viciously stabbing him to death.

Rachel and Gage return home and encounter the undead Ellie. Rachel is horrified and flees with Gage to an upstairs bedroom. Ellie, enraged at being rejected by her mother, attacks Rachel as Louis finds Jud's blood-soaked body. Rushing home, Louis manages to save Gage just as Ellie fatally stabs Rachel. He locks Gage in the car, and Rachel begs her husband not to bury her in the pet cemetery. Ellie knocks Louis unconscious and drags her mother's body to the burial ground. At the pet cemetery, Ellie tries to kill Louis. As Louis prepares to decapitate his daughter, he is impaled from behind by a makeshift grave marker, falling and revealing a reanimated Rachel. Ellie and Rachel silently drag Louis away and he is subsequently buried. Rachel, Ellie, Church, and a resurrected Louis set fire to Jud's house before approaching the car. Louis peers into the car at Gage before a beeping sound of the car door unlocking is heard.

Alternate ending[edit]

Louis spares Ellie instead of killing her, and they both bury Rachel behind the pet cemetery, promising that they will be a family together forever. After burning Jud's house, Louis and Ellie approach the family car, where Gage is still locked in. In the house, Ellie, Church, and a newly resurrected Rachel approach and reunite with an unhappy Louis holding Gage, who is crying.


  • Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed
  • Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed (née Goldman)
    • Sonia Maria Chirila as Young Rachel
  • John Lithgow as Jud Crandall
  • Jeté Laurence as Eleanor 'Ellie' Creed
  • Hugo and Lucas Lavoie as Gage Creed
  • Obssa Ahmed as Victor Pascow
  • Alyssa Brooke Levine as Zelda Goldman
  • Suzy Stingl as Norma Crandall
  • Maria Herrera as Marcela
  • Jacob Lemieux as "Mouse Face"
  • Maverick Fortin as "Dog Face"
  • Lou Ferrando as "Rabbit Face"
  • Najya Muipatayi as "Cat Face"
  • Emma Hill as "Horse Face"
  • Leo, Tonic, Jager and JD as Church the Cat
  • Frank Schorpion as Irwin Goldman
  • Linda E. Smith as Dory Goldman



On March 5, 2010, Paramount Pictures was developing a new adaptation of Stephen King's novel Pet Sematary, and that Matt Greenberg had been hired to write the screenplay. (He was later credited with the "screen story".)[6] By October 2013, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider were to serve as producers for the production, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was in talks to direct.[7]

In August 2017, Andy Muschietti, director of the 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King's It, said that he and his sister, Barbara Muschietti, wanted to adapt Pet Sematary.[8]

On October 30, 2017, it was announced that Paramount Pictures had officially greenlit the film, which was expected to be directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler and David Kajganich (the latter went uncredited). Aside from Di Bonaventura and Schneider, Mark Vahradian also produced. Other filmmakers considered were Sean Carter and Johannes Roberts.[9]


On April 16, 2018, it was announced that Jason Clarke had been cast in the lead role of Louis Creed.[10] On May 4, 2018, it was reported John Lithgow had joined the cast in the role of Jud Crandall.[11]

In June 2018, it was announced that Amy Seimetz would have the film's lead female role, Rachel Creed, along with Jeté Laurence as Creed's daughter Ellie and twins Hugo and Lucas Lavoie as Creed's son Gage.[12][13]

In October 2018, it was reported that Obssa Ahmed had been added as college student Victor Pascow, and Alyssa Brooke Levine as Zelda Goldman. Zelda was previously portrayed by stuntman Andrew Hubatsek in the 1989 film.[14]


Principal photography commenced on June 18, 2018, in Hudson, Quebec, Canada.[15][16] Filming wrapped on August 11, 2018.[14]


Christopher Young composed the film score. The end credits include a cover version of the Ramones song "Pet Sematary" by American punk rock band Starcrawler. Waxwork Records released the soundtrack on a double LP in 2019 following the release of the film.[17]

Track list[edit]

Double LP track list[edit]

  1. The Wendigo
  2. The Maine Road
  3. But The Cat Has No Hat
  4. Underground Terrors
  5. Fielding Fine
  6. Scream For More
  7. Dead Alive Again
  8. Church Isn't Church
  9. Un-Hallowed Even
  10. Fouled Soil
  11. Echo Angels
  12. Just Not The Same
  13. Watching The Dead Do
  14. Die Daddy Die
  15. Wasn't The Beginning?
  16. Pet Sematary


The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2019, by Paramount Pictures.[18]

The film was originally going to be released on April 19, 2019,[19] but was moved two weeks from its original release date of April 19, 2019, to April 5, 2019.[20]


Box office[edit]

Pet Sematary grossed $54.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $58.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $113.1 million, against a production budget of $21 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Pet Sematary was released alongside Shazam! and The Best of Enemies, and was projected to gross $20–30 million from 2,500 theaters in its opening weekend.[21][22] It made $2.3 million from Thursday night previews.[23] It then grossed $10 million on its first day, including previews. It went on to debut to $24.5 million, finishing second, behind Shazam!.[24] The film fell 60% in its second weekend to $9.7 million, finishing fourth, and then made $4.9 million in its third weekend, finishing seventh.[25][26]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 57% based on 279 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Pet Sematary takes its source material in a few different directions, but this remake feels like an exhuming almost as often as it does a revival."[27] The rating fell from 92% since the original critical consensus. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[28] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 66% and a 47% "definite recommend".[23]


In March 2019, di Bonaventura stated that discussions of the development of a prequel had begun.[29] Buhler reaffirmed this, stating that a continuation would explore "digging into the mythology of the town, these rituals that children present, the mythology of the Miꞌkmaq, the Wendigo, the cemetery, the origins, Jud's life."[30]

In February 2021, the film was officially green-lit with Buhler and di Bonaventura returning in their roles as screenwriter and producer, respectively. The project will be released via streaming, as a Paramount+ exclusive film.[31][32] In May 2021, it was announced Lindsey Beer will make her directing debut with the film.[33] In June 2021, Deadline Hollywood reported that Jackson White was in final negotiations as the young Jud Crandall.[34] The same month, Jack Mulhern, Forrest Goodluck, Natalie Alyn Lind and Isabella Star LaBlanc were cast in undisclosed roles, with filming scheduled to commence in August.[35] Samantha Mathis and Henry Thomas were cast in undisclosed roles in August 2021.[36]


  1. ^ "Pet Sematary". AMC Theatres. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Pet Sematary (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  3. ^ Josh Weiss (April 5, 2019). "Critics find Pet Sematary a horrifying thrill ride that's darker than the book". SyFy. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  4. ^ Nick Evans (April 4, 2019). "First Pet Sematary Reviews Are Up, See What Critics Are Saying". CinemaBlend. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Meg O'Brien (April 4, 2019). "First Pet Sematary Reviews Are Up, See What Critics Are Saying". Boston. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Outlaw, Kofi (March 5, 2010). "'1408' Writer Headed for the 'Pet Sematary' | ScreenRant". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 31, 2013). "'Pet Sematary' Back From the Dead With Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Mark Daniell (2017-08-04). "Stephen King's Pennywise is back: Secrets from the set of 'It'". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 30, 2017). "Paramount Finds 'Pet Sematary' Directors (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (April 16, 2018). "Jason Clarke in Talks to Star in 'Pet Sematary' Remake (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  11. ^ Breznican, Anthony (May 4, 2018). "John Lithgow joins the remake of Stephen King's 'Pet Sematary'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 1, 2018). "Amy Seimetz Female Lead In 'Pet Sematary' Remake". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  13. ^ Breznican, Anthony (June 21, 2018). "Meet the kids from the new film version of Stephen King's 'Pet Sematary'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Squires, John (October 8, 2018). "Obssa Ahmed Plays the New Victor Pascow in Next Year's 'Pet Sematary' - Bloody Disgusting". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Trumbore, Dave (June 18, 2018). "'Pet Sematary' Adaptation Starts Filming; First Set Photo Revealed by Co-Directors". Collider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Salemme, Danny (June 18, 2018). "Pet Sematary Director Announces Filming Has Begun". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Vasandani, Rachita (8 October 2019). "Giveaway: Win the Pet Sematary Soundtrack on Deluxe Double LP!". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  18. ^ Nolfi, Joey (February 7, 2019). "Pet Sematary remake to world premiere at 2019 SXSW Film Festival". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 8, 2017). "Paramount Sets 2019 Release For 'Pet Sematary' & 'Instant Family'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. ^ McNary, Dave (May 23, 2018). "'Transformers 7' Pulled From Paramount Schedule". Variety. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (March 14, 2019). "'Shazam!' Looks To Strike Lightning With $45M Opening; 'Pet Sematary' Eyes Mid $20M+ – Early Tracking". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  22. ^ Rebecca Rubin (April 3, 2019). "Box Office: 'Shazam!' Heads Toward $45 Million-Plus Opening Weekend". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro; Nancy Tartaglione (April 5, 2019). "'Shazam!' Whams $5.9M In Thursday Night U.S. Previews For $9.2M Cume, Eyes $145M+ WW Launch – Friday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  24. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (April 7, 2019). "'Shazam!' Shoots To Super $53M+ Opening, $56M+ With Previews; 'Pet Sematary' Purrs $25M – Sunday AM B.O. Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  25. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (April 14, 2019). "'Shazam!' Still The Man With $23M+; 'Little' Grows Up; 'Hellboy' Cold With $12M+; 'After' Works Overseas – Midday B.O. Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  26. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (April 21, 2019). "Lowest Easter Weekend At The B.O. Since 2005 Despite $26M Purse Of 'La Llorona' – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  27. ^ "Pet Sematary (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  28. ^ "Pet Semetary (2019) reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  29. ^ Roffman, Michael (March 26, 2019). "Pet Sematary producer teases potential prequel". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  30. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (May 15, 2019). "Pet Sematary Writer Teases How the Film's Mythology Might Be Continued in a New Project". Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  31. ^ Lang, Brent & Cynthia Littleton (February 24, 2021). "ViacomCBS Overhauls Film Strategy With New Theatrical Windows, Epix Pact". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  32. ^ Evangelista, Chris (February 24, 2021). "'Paranormal Activity' Sequel and New 'Pet Sematary' Prequel Headed Straight to Paramount+". Slash Film. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  33. ^ Kroll, Justin (2021-05-17). "Lindsey Beer To Direct' New 'Pet Sematary' Movie At Paramount Players". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  34. ^ Kroll, Justin (2021-06-23). "Jackson White To Play Jud Crandall In New 'Pet Sematary' Movie At Paramount Players". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  35. ^ "'Pet Sematary' Prequel Adds 'Mare of Easttown', 'Revenant' Actors (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. July 9, 2021.
  36. ^ "New 'Pet Sematary' Movie At Paramount Players Adds Samantha Mathis & Henry Thomas". Deadline. August 16, 2021.

External links[edit]