Pet Sematary marks the first time Stephen King has adapted his own book for the screen, and the result is undead schlock dulled by a slasher-film mentality – squandering its chilling and fertile source material.
The story hinges on a small family that comes to New England, moving into a vintage Americana house alongside a truck route. When Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) finds his daughter’s cat dead along the road, his elderly neighbor Jud (Fred Gwynne) takes him to a hidden Indian burial ground that brings the beast back to life.
The quiet madness that gradually leads Louis to try and bring a person back via the same process – despite the repeated warnings of a friendly ghost – isn’t apparent in Mary Lambert’s hastily assembled narrative.
King appears in a cameo as a minister presiding over a funeral. He also introduces some wan, recurrent humor in the form of the reappearing and grisly ghost (Brad Greenquist).