Tag Archives: Watching

Pet Semetary (2019)

“Sometimes dead is better”

There’s something consciously scary about Stephen King stories. Films like ‘Secret Window’, ‘The Mist’ and ‘1408’ have rated as some of my favorite films of the past decade. Despite the purposefully limited viewings I’ve given these films there’s something which resonates in the way that few films can, leaving a mental footprint about what you’ve just watched.

King’s latest adaptation is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler, from a screen story by Matt Greenberg. The film has been made for screen before, with a 1989 version achieving cult status, and the seldom seen straight to VHS 1992 sequel was perhaps only notable for starring Edward Furlong less than 12 months after his appearance in Terminator 2 as John Connor.

In either case Pet Semetary (that’s intentional) centres’s around the Creed family – who move to the countryside to escape life from the big city – patriarch Louis offered a job as a doctor from the University of Maine. Having spent years on the graveyard shift at Boston ER’s it’s a welcome break which allows him to quietly watch his kids growing up and not sacrifice the knowledge of his career.

No sooner than the family have moved into the neighborhood do they meet Judd (played in this incarnation by the wonderful John Lithgow) who warns them against the Pet Semetary – an odd place set up by the townsfolk on their farms land which has, for generations, been the place to bury their pets. Witnessing a procession of children burying a neighborhood dog encourages mother Rachael that her children Ellie and Gage need to be kept far from wandering in the woods, made worse by the fact Zelda suffers nightmares from a trauma haunting her own past.

Soon after their arrival Louis is unable to save the life of a student in the University. Shocked that he would have to experience such an accident at the campus, nightmares begin to plague his life, leading to strange dreams and being beckoned beyond the cemetery to a mysterious land.

From here the film takes darker and darker turns, examining such topics as how to address mortality around children and similar trends to the types of things John Cusack faced as Michael Enslin in 1408. King’s own work is truly scary at times, and if rumor is to be believed, this particular story was the one book which King actually admitted to having scared himself writing. Not intending to ever release it, he only did so on the insistence of his wife to fulfill a contractual obligation.

Never work with children or animals, and that is probably a good segway to credit ‘Church’ the family cat – named after Winston Churchill. Rarely has an animal character in a film made quite the impact and it could be argued that at times his acting is more substantial – and welcoming – than the humans. Jason Clarke takes the lead here, known for roles in ‘White House Down’, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Terminator Genisys’ (making him the second ‘John Connor’ to star in a Pet Semetary film actually) and although he is – at times – convincing it just can’t be ignored that previous King adaptations have been helped tremendously by the natural skills of Cusack, Depp and Robbins etc. not to mention an exceedingly good supporting cast, which this movie – Lithgow excepted – fails to find.

A very contained film it strays from involving too much of the modern world, rather lost in a pleasant place that could be anywhere between now and 1994. It’s also left with an opening that, although follows through to the novel adaptation, instead picks moments of genuine delight – especially in its third act – in which we’re treated to some of the best dialogue going, particularly by newcomer Jete Laurence.

Both Victor and Zelda’s roles are just as impacting but have less merit than in the original, especially that of Victor, with more focus on the realistically possible in this movie – in the same way that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight moved away from the fanciful and instead presented a straight edged movie. It’s always difficult to remake a film like this, without spoiling things or revealing a hidden twist, but suffice to say that fans of the original will not go home disappointed and fans of horror will have more than enough reason to grab themselves a copy of the original when they’re through with this one.

That said, if you’ve seen the trailer, you may have missed the biggest turn of the night.

#DVDRIP20

As we welcome in a new decade there are many things we are told about the last one. Fashion, Geography, Politics – all consigned to history – as the record books are officially written about the last 10 years. On social media, people posted photographs of themselves in 2009 compared to 2019 and commented on how much they might have changed and what they might have learned in the process.

One comment, however, which didn’t get as much attention was that DVD was to become officially extinct. The roaring 20’s would, it seems, not be done in the company of digital versitile disc. In a 2010 article from Live Science the DVD Player was officially placed on a list of the 10 most likely technologies to be extint by the end of the decade – with Fax Machines, Beepers and even Credit Cards also making the cut.

According to CNBC in November 2019, DVD Sales have declined more than 86% since the same time 2008. Even if these figures are just for the US, that in itself is a remarkable figure, proving that whilst you’re always likely to see DVD around (in a friends basement, in HMV on reduction, in a charity store) it’s unlikely the format will have any sort of Vinyl type revival.

Dead formats such as Cassette, VHS and Mini Disc have seen a small revival online in recent years – with some companies and organisations offering limited runs of, for example, a classic movie in the VHS format for subscribers through a pledge site. But the facts speak for themselves, as the same CNBC article quotes a staggering 1,231% rise in streaming sales since 2011; which an estimated annual turnover of $12.9 Billion. And this is set to rise further.

Even Blu Ray, which launched in 2006, could struggle to survive – as consumers decide to recieve their content from streaming. Hulu, Disney and Netflix are just some that lead the charge – whilst retailers left in the UK like CEX and HMV have an increasing selection of 50p DVD’s taking up an incredible amount of space. If these products were to be removed, and this space taken from shelves, retailers would then either look for smaller units in which to trade or need to cease trading altogether.

And it’s not just video formats, as gaming is effected. Personally I have several friends who only purchase games digitally, and do not buy physical formats, believing that such things are a waste of money – especially considering sales prices regularly available on PlayStation or Microsoft online store. Recently, Microsoft have launched a disc less X Box One, which the next generation of their console (X Box Two) speculated to contain a disc and disc-less version. In the age of micro consoles, it is also now possible to buy a gaming system which comes without physical hardware.

While it used to be about owning these properties, gathering large amounts of media and building a huge collection; nowadays, it would seem less is more, with a minimalist lifestyle now attempting to convince us that we don’t even need to own the film. I’ve spoken before about this phenomenon in music, how not owning a single physical album from a band doesn’t mean you’re not a hardcore fan – particularly if you’re attending their concerts and wearing their shirts.

Ultimately, it would appear there are more ways than ever to spend your money on…nothing.