The Pet Sematary remake directors wish the marketing hadn’t spoiled so much of the upcoming film. Based on the 1983 novel by horror maestro Stephen King, the remake will mark the second time that the story has been brought to the big screen since the arrival of 1989’s initial adaptation, which was followed by a sequel in 1992.
The original Pet Sematary story follows the Creed family as they settle into a new home in rural Maine. Shortly after their arrival, the family learns of a pet cemetery in the woods behind their home. When father Louis discovers that whatever is buried in the sacred yet mysterious ground returns to life, things take a horrific turn for the Creed family. The novel’s popularity helped to build interest in the 1989 film, culminating in a box office hit. The film’s sequel, however, failed to find the same success and it wasn’t until 2010 that talk of resurrecting the concept began again.
With the remake on its way in a matter of days, Paramount has been ramping up its degree of promotion for the horror remake. The final trailer has just arrived, but in a new interview following its world premiere with Collider, Pet Sematary directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch revealed that if it had been up to them, the film’s trailer wouldn’t have given away a crucial plot point - the death of onscreen couple Louis and Rachel’s daughter, Ellie. That said, the pair was quick to defend the trailer and even pointed out the benefit of including the spoiler. Said Widmyer:
Yeah, we would not have done that, but we don’t work in marketing. But I will say though, to their credit, that we tested the film in a bunch of different cities, as you always do with studio films, and our score went up after the trailer was revealed. I’m not saying it was because of that. We had made the movie better obviously in between, but I don’t know. There is something to be said about people sort of knowing going in already what to expect and then being ready for it rather than blindsided by it if they’re not into it.
As fans of the original novel and film will already know, it was Ellie’s brother Gage who was killed early on in the story, not Ellie. Distraught and overcome with grief, Louis makes the decision one night to bury his deceased son in the Pet Sematary, in order to bring him back to life once more. But of course, no one comes back from the Pet Sematary as the person they once were. The change likely isn’t so drastic as to throw off audiences who might be familiar with the original, but as Widmyer mentions in the interview:
I mean, people call it a twist. ‘Oh! They spoiled the twist!’ It’s not a twist. I mean, we didn’t spoil how the whole third act of the movie ends and we still haven’t, and they have not done that. If anything, it’s just an escalation. It’s a reveal, so you get to really live in that moment of the emotion and sadness by not thinking that you’re just seeing a surprise, shock moment.
As far as changes to remakes go, the film’s victim switch up is hardly a major drawback. The death still occurs and the end results - in this case the burial in the Pet Sematary, are still the same. But the notion that trailers are giving away more and more in an attempt to lure audiences in is a valid one. In fact, it’s quite likely that most cinephiles have experienced a trailer revealing too much at one time or another. It’s one of the more unfortunate sides to modern film marketing - one that possibly could hurt Pet Sematary’s upcoming arrival.
- Pet Sematary (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019