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Pet Sematary 2

November 13th, 2008 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

PET SEMATARY 2 is just bizarre. In fact, if the original PET SEMATARY died and you buried it in the pet cemetery it would probably come back as PET SEMATARY 2. Although there are several nods towards the first film (hey look it’s the Creeds mailbox! Let’s meet Church the cat’s veterinarian) drastic liberties are taken and important boundaries present in the first installment are ignored. I don’t know about you, but bad table manners are the last thing on my list of concerns about the recently deceased.

EDWARD FURLONG plays Jeff Mathews a boy who recently lost his famous movie star mother after she was electrocuted during an on-set mishap. He moves to the town of Ludlow, Maine (Georgia is cast as Maine) with his veterinarian father Chase (ANTHONY EDWARDS). Jeff is not in town long before he meets a mean kitten-napping bully (BIG‘s JARED RUSHTON) and an overweight kid (JASON McGUIRE) juggling an abusive step dad and a doomed pooch. Things are said, punches are thrown, dogs are shot and eventually people are trotting off to the old Indian reanimation station.

Director MARY LAMBERT doesn’t really have much to work with here, and even the cemetery itself seems scaled down and rushed. She still has a great eye for twisted details and gothic nuances, but some of her off kilter sensibilities glare rather than enhance. Part of what made the first film so potent was its appreciation of a permanent, weighty environment rich in history. In contrast, PET SEMATARY 2 feels like a transient carnival passing through town. I don’t know if the focus on younger characters is to blame or if it’s the absence of recalled horror, but the ancient evil vibe is M.I.A. Lamentably, when cornered LAMBERT tends to fall back on her extensive music video background. The songs we hear are great but really a little goes a long way and they tend to elbow out any established mood. (The tracks chosen actually would have made an outstanding soundtrack, unfortunately such a thing never materialized.)

The good news is that CLANCY BROWN who portrays Jeff’s pal Drew’s bastard of a step father is a wonder to behold. His character may make little sense when held up against what we’ve seen in the original film, but if you just let that go he’s a darkly humorous marvel. In fact, if we could just rip out this movie’s connection to the first film entirely it would fare a lot better. If this was not a sequel to PET SEMETARY, scenes like the one where Jeff’s father dreams that he’s making love to a woman with a very unconvincing dog mask on might actually be kinda fun. Instead it’s just kind of head shakingly sad.

As far as the film’s climax goes I’m kind of torn. I don’t think I’ll be ruining anything here when I tell you that Jeff’s mother does indeed return from the grave. Unfortunately, just about every opportunity to make this development suitably gruesome is avoided. The problem is she’s looking too damn good. I know that this may be partially due to illusion but still, the fact remains, bitch ain’t scary. Although it’s undeniably fun to watch her burn alive, face all dripping apart, something just seems too theatrical and corny here to be taken seriously. In a way, this climax isn’t so different from the one in DARIO ARGENTO‘s INFERNO with that nutty dime store death skeleton. I always enjoyed that, it’s sort of goofy but that’s just DARIO being DARIO right? Why can’t I give MARY a break like that? If this film was in Italian would I think it was artsy and cool rather than cringe-y and cartoonish? The answer to that question is pending. Bottom-line is PET SEMATARY 2 is not a great movie, but it is reasonably entertaining. If you pretend it has subtitles you might even like it. The problem is that as a sequel it drops the ball in any language.

Note: One other bizarre thing about the film that is equal parts fascinating and embarrassing is its closing credits which elect to show you the film’s victims in cut out circles on the side of the screen. To me it laughably looks like the opening of a mid-eighties night time soap. One more head scratching choice in a movie filled with many.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I was psyched to see this movie and was sooo disappointed. Almost ANGRY ! The only good aspect for me was the soundtrack…and I already HAD THE NYMPHS album that most of (if not ALL) the songs were from already. I’ve always sort of wanted to have my evil way with Edward Furlong but even HE wasn’t lighting any fires for me in THIS!

    The guy I saw the movie in the theater with watched this again on TV recently and told me we had judged the movie too harshley cuz it wasn’t as cool as the original and urged me to give the movie a second chance. I told him to piss off. I may not know much but unless they added an alternate ending where Edward Furlong goes “Full Monty” this movie, did , does and always WILL suck!

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm


    If something horrible should happen to Aunt John, say somebody should nudge a george foreman grill into his nightly epson salt bath, would you be available to take his place? I think Aunt Mamasweetpeaches has a nice ring to it don’t you?

  • 3 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    You wont have long to wait. I’ve been secretly poisoning Aunt John’s MARY JANE candies. Mwahahaha!

  • 4 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Has anyone seen what Edward Furlong looks like now?


    I also hear he’s become difficult, which saddens me.

    I have actually seen this movie, but like the original, it’s been years. I do remember liking it though. Probably for Clancy Brown as well, because that dude is AWESOME.

  • 5 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    @UNK: This would explain your sudden insistence on cooking grill cheeses in the bathroom.

    @UNK & MAMA: Now I know how DORIS DAY felt in MIDNIGHT LACE. I’m warning you bitches right now, keep your dirty paws off my MUFF!

  • 6 micksterNo Gravatar // Nov 13, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Edward Furlong looks about as bad as Cory Haim. I haven’t seen this movie, but I love Clancey Brown in The Bride. I know he is typically a bad ass, but I think he is terrific as Frankenstein’s monster. @Aunt John, Doris Day looks like she has her hands stuffed up a racoon’s butt. You can come stay at the Von Whiskersen Manor if Unk tries to bump you off.

  • 7 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

    No, I DONT know what Edward Furlong looks like NOW. I remember when my husband rented TERMINATOR 3 I was all “ooooh…yeah…Edward Furlong…uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh! Definately gonna need to ‘rub one out’ while watchin’ THIS ” only to find out HE WAS NOT IN THE FREAKIN’ MOVIE! (I guess THATS because he’s ‘difficult’ now!) Last time I think the last time I saw him was DETROIT ROCK CITY. A great movie and Jesus Tap Dancing Christ did he look good in it. He does a strip tease and then pukes. its MAGIC, I tells ya! I feel like watchin’ it now (Yes, i have the VHS tape) and gettin’all Dirty old Lady over it! Alas, I think dear Edward has gotten himself messed up on The Stuff….and, no, I don’t mean that tofu-yogurt-like desert food that Chocolate Chip Charlie hawks.

  • 8 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Nov 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

    @Mickster: Thank you for the offer of a murder-free haven. You really are sweet like sugar, unlike some of the other savages lurking about these parts.

  • 9 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 11:09 am

    STILL dont know what he looks like but to hear his “fans” on IMDB tell it he looks like what it would look like if Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and k.d. lange had a baby. YIKES! Maybe  I wont look for modern pics and just keep him young and juicy in my mind. By the way- YOU DID A PET SEMETARY 2 STORY AND DIDNT PUT UP EDWARD FURLONG PICTURES!!!! What up with THAT????

  • 10 Jeff AllardNo Gravatar // Nov 23, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Thanks for mentioning my favorite part of Pet Semetery 2 – those goofy end credits! I still remember laughing out loud in the theater when those came on. I haven’t seen this movie in years but those inexplicable credits made an indelible impression on me.

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