Paramount has been developing a remake of Pet Sematary since 2011, but the massive success of It has Hollywood scrambling to catch the heat of Stephen King mania. The favor for the author's work has already continued into Netflix's Gerald's Game and 1922. Now we're looking at a new adaptation of Pet Sematary coming soon.
We have about a month left until the remake arrives in theaters, but Pet Sematary is first making its debut as the closing night film of the SXSW Film Festival, on March 17. Whether you’re able to make it to Austin for that premiere or are anxiously awaiting its official release near you, find out everything you need to know about the King adaptation below.
What's the plot of Pet Sematary again?
After a family's cat is hit by a truck, the father buries the animal in a secret hidden cemetery in the woods specifically set up for pets. Anything that's buried there comes back to life. But the resurrected creatures -- and this includes humans -- are not quite the same. They're now killers.
Doesn't the father also resurrect...?
Hey, now, let's not get into spoilers, for anyone who hasn't read the book or seen the 1989 movie. Paramount is being vague enough in their description of the new adaptation, as indicated by this official synopsis:
Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed, who, after relocating with his wife Rachel and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall, setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.
Who wrote this version?
While King himself scripted the 1989 adaptation of his book, this time David Kajganich, who wrote A Bigger Splash and the upcoming Suspiria remake; Matt Greenberg, who co-scripted the King-based 1408; and Jeff Buhler, who scripted The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming Jacob's Ladder remake, have worked on the screenplay. Only Buhler has a credit, however.
Who is starring in the remake?
Jason Clarke stars in the new version. He plays the lead role of Louis Creed, a doctor who has moved his family out of the city into a more rural area. Tragedy strikes his family, prompting him to take extreme measures.
Amy Seimetz costars as Louis' wife, Rachel. Seimetz is a filmmaker (Sun Don't Shine) and actress who became known for her sterling work in a series of independent films, including You're Next, Upstream Color and The Sacrament.
John Lithgow (Daddy's Home 2) will portray Jud Crandall, described as "a kindly neighbor," per THR. The role was played by Fred Gwynne in the original film; he introduced his new neighbors to the titular memorial park and explained how things worked. From the sound of it, the new version takes the same path with the character.
Who directed the remake?
Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer are at the helm of the new Pet Sematary. The duo previously wrote and directed the 2014 Hollywood-set horror movie Starry Eyes, which was partially funded through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Since helming that breakout feature, they've contributed a segment to the horror anthology movie Holidays and directed episodes of Scream: The Series.
Wasn't someone else supposed to direct the new Pet Sematary?
Given that the remake has been in development a while, there have been other directors attached or linked to the project in the past. Some of the names include Alexandre Aja, who gave us the remakes of Piranha and The Hills Have Eyes, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, helmer of 28 Weeks Later.
According to Variety, Sean Carter (Keep Watching) and Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) were also in talks for the gig. Also, this past summer, ahead of the release of his It adaptation, director Andy Muschietti said he was interested in doing this King-based movie, too.
When will the movie be out?
Paramount will release the new Pet Sematary on April 5 after it premieres as SXSW on March 17.
Watch the latest trailer:
Paramount has released a second trailer for Pet Sematary, and it’s a little heavier on spoilery footage than the first as it sets up more of the plot. Watch it here:
Watch the first trailer:
The first trailer for the Pet Sematary remake looks very scary. This movie very well could prove It wasn't just a fluke as far as successful resurrections of previously adapted Stephen King books are concerned. "Sometimes dead is better," but sometimes resurrecting old stories can be great.