REVIEW: “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” is better off dead

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures via Wikimedia Commons

The prequel to the film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” proves its iconic quote, “sometimes, dead is better,” true with its staid plot and one-dimensional characters. Despite introducing the history of Pet Sematary (2019), the prequel fails to mimic the horror and morality-bending themes of its predecessor.

Directed by Lindsay Beer, the film ad follows a young Jud Crandall (Jackson White) and his lover Norma (Natalie Alyn Lind) attempting to leave their hometown. But, when Jud’s childhood best friend Timmy (Jack Mulhern) begins acting strange, Jud discovers the Pet Sematary, an Indian burial ground which raises the dead. The dead, however, don’t return the same.

On the surface, Jud should face internal conflict over the morality of killing his childhood friend for the greater good. However, there’s little conflict as the film solely depicts Timmy as a monster, removing any shred of sympathy that viewers might show toward him.

Relying on jumpscares and gore for horror, the film initially succeeds at the shock effect, but it quickly becomes predictable as the film progresses.

This static film structure makes for a less thrilling watch than one would expect from a horror movie. Audiences will easily forget much of the scenes that are filled with boring, repetitive dialogue and lackluster acting performances.

The character’s motives are practically identical and their only goal — to kill Timmy — remains the same throughout the film’s 84-minute runtime. Though every character aims to end Timmy’s bloodshed, simplicity robs the film of exploring the unique reasons each character has for doing so.

Additionally, some of the character’s decisions don’t make sense. For instance, Timmy’s father has lived near the pet sematary for years and been aware of its evil power, but acts surprised when his choice to bury Timmy results in him acting demonic.

The protagonist, Jud, falls victim to the same problem. In “Pet Sematary (2019),” Jud is a pivotal character that helps bury a pet in the Sematary, thinking it will return the same as before.

Such a decision is paradoxical since Jud has witnessed the events in the prequel, making him aware that the pet will most likely bring harm.

Though the prequel focuses on the consequences of a human burial, Jud still shouldn’t be willing to take such risks knowing the possible lethal outcome.

The plot drags on at times, and the film does not include enough high-stakes, character-defining moments. Instead, exposition dumps and everyday conversation take up screen time.

Fans of Stephen King’s iconic novel should steer clear of “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” — the flat plot and characters make it a tedious ride.

Rating: 2/5