Pet Sematary (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Pet Sematary1989

Pet Sematary (1989)




Critic Consensus: Pet Sematary is a bruising horror flick that wears its quirks on its sleeves, to the detriment of its scare factor.

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Movie Info

After moving to an idyllic home in the countryside, life seems perfect for the Creed family... but not for long. Louis and Rachel Creed and their two young children settle in to a house that sits next door to a pet cemetery - built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Their mysterious new neighbor, Jud Crandall, hides the cemetery's darkest secret until a family tragedy brings the secret to life. Now, an unthinkable evil is about to be resurrected.

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Dale Midkiff
as Louis Creed
Fred Gwynne
as Jud Crandall
Denise Crosby
as Rachel Creed
Brad Greenquist
as Victor Pascow
Blaze Berdahl
as Ellie Creed
Miko Hughes
as Gage Creed
Michael Lombard
as Irwin Goldman
Susan Blommaert
as Missy Dandridge
Stephen King
as Preacher
Mara Clark
as Marcy Charlton
Kavi Raz
as Steve Masterton
Mary Louise Wilson
as Dory Goldman
Liz Davies
as Girl at infirmary
Kara Dalke
as Candystriper
Matthew August Ferrell
as Jud as a Child
Lisa Stathoplos
as Jud's Mother
Elizabeth Ureneck
as Rachel as a Child
Chuck Courtney
as Bill Baterman
Richard Collier
as Young Jud
Donnie Greene
as Orinco Driver
Peter T. Stader
as Timmy Baterman
Lila Duffy
as Budget Clerk
John David Moore
as Hitch-hike Driver
Mary R. Hughes
as Seatmate #2
Dorothy McCabe
as Seatmate #1
Beau Berdahl
as Ellie Creed II
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Critic Reviews for Pet Sematary

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (3)

Reduced to its plot outlines, King`s work no longer functions; its meaning lies in the obscure tensions and anxieties that shape the fantasy, not in what happens, but why.

October 4, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Overall, the acting in Pet Sematary is hit or miss. But when it hits, it's a bullseye.

April 8, 2019 | Full Review…

Aside from its blatant foreshadowing, the main problem with Pet Sematary is its hit-you-over-the-head approach to characters' inability to "let sleeping dogs lie."

July 25, 2001 | Rating: 40/100

Pet Sematary quickly becomes a testament to the power of the female gaze on screen, as well as Mary Lambert's considerable skills as a director. None of the gore is exploitative, and even the death of a child is handled with empathy and respect.

May 23, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

King turns the mirror on humanity, questioning our faith, our belief, our methods of expelling grief from our lives. And it isn't always a pretty sight.

May 2, 2019 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

One of the stodgier King adaptations of its period, Pet Sematary 1989 squanders much of its promise with cardboard performances, flat direction and a dire lack of both emotional heft and chilly mood.

April 7, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pet Sematary


King's screenplay (adapted from his own novel) is generally well structured despite its flaws, but the movie suffers mainly from a stiff dialogue and Lambert's poor, amateurish direction, which has trouble even with the most basic things like the geography of the scenes.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

When it comes to Stephen King adaptations, it seems that the less he actually has to do with it, the better it ultimately is. This seems to be a case of a creative mind not being able to see the big picture. King wrote the screenplay for this film and made them follow it rigorously, also helping scout locations only 20 miles from his own home in Maine, being on set during most of production, and even providing a cameo as a minister. King is undoubtedly one of the foremost couriers from the land of the dead, and a true master of horror, that cannot be denied, but he puts too much into the pacing of scenes and doesn't pay constant attention to the plotting. What happens is that a film that should be a bit bare boned actually has meaning to its scenes, yet also drags its carcass across the screen. The situation set up is enticing and the comparison between the sanctity of life and the desecration of zombie-like demons is interesting and permissive. Other than the pacing, there isn't much to pick apart in this film, because the atmosphere, cinematography, and cast are extraordinarily perfect. Again, on the cast, there are some superb choices, especially when it comes to choosing Fred Gwynne ("The Munsters") as the old, Southern neighbor who knows a bit more than he lets on. You can see the complicated framework of his past and his horror at the actions that his neighbor takes. Also a great pick was the child actor who plays the devilish Gage (Hughes). He's a loveable angel one minute and a malicious demon the next, and that seamless transition is what makes some of the last scenes in the movie very frightening. The father (Midkiff) on the other hand is wooden and unlikeable, mostly because he never seems like a father, and more like an outsider who continually screws up. That and the character's supposed insanity does not come through, which make his final actions seem like that of a dolt. The ending ultimately pays for the pacing, because that's where the only scary bits of the film lie, and that's disappointing. Otherwise it has an eerie atmosphere and some grotesque visuals, so it's worth watching for sure.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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