Raise some hell.
If cosmic forces line up correctly and all the wonders of nature converge, sometimes you can get lightning in a bottle. If, however, everything is completely off, you get something like Pet Sematary Two. In 1989, director Mary Lambert made Pet Sematary (based on the book by Stephen King), a chilling movie that took a cold, hard look at obsessive love and the nature of evil. In 1992 Lambert visited her old stomping grounds and came up with something that made Batman and Robin look like Citizen Kane. Even King (shameless in letting almost any version of his books hit the big screen) disavowed this turkey, distraught that a sequel of any sorts had been made. King had plenty of reason to make sure his name was nowhere to be seen in the credits—Pet Sematary Two was the palest of imitations compared to its frightening predecessor. Starring Anthony "I shouldn't be in horror films" Edwards (E.R.), Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and Clancy Brown (The Bride, The Shawshank Redemption), Pet Sematary Two rises from the dead care of Paramount Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Apparently no one learned from the Creed family's mistakes. Taking place an unspecified time after the first film, Pet Sematary Two follows the story of Chase Matthews (Edwards) and his son Jeff (Furlong) as they move to the small town of Ludlow, Maine. Jeff's mother, a famous Hollywood actress, was tragically electrocuted while filming a movie. Jeff, isolated and angry, learns about the old Micmac Indian burial grounds far beyond the local "Pet Sematary." THE GROUND IS SOUR, we were warned in the first film. Obviously no one decided to fill Jeff and his friends in on this pertinent information, seeing as they've decided to use the contaminated grounds to bring back all sorts of fun stuff: dogs, sheriffs, mothers…no one is spared a return from the hereafter. Realizing that the dead seem to have a vengeful and deadly mind of their own, Jeff and his father learn a valuable lesson: sometimes, dead is better (if only the Paramount executives would have realized this back in the early 1990s…).
Nothin' says lovin' like a fresh sequel from the oven. Unfortunately, Pet Sematary Two ain't fresh. In fact, it's more than not fresh; it's already started to decay. The makers behind Pet Sematary Two made a very bad mistake in producing this movie. There might have been the possibility that a good sequel to the original could have been made—however, that issue is was squandered as soon as this port-a-potty of a movie went into development.
Pet Sematary Two suffers from many problems, the biggest being the fact that a sequel just wasn't warranted. While movies such as A Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween and Friday The 13th certainly didn't produce stellar follow-ups, at least in some twisted way they had an inkling of set-up for a sequel. The original Pet Sematary had none of that. Screenwriter Richard Outten apparently was picking his nose with a blunt ice pick while churning this movie out, for that is the only excuse I can think of for the horrendousness of this script. Pet Sematary Two makes the mistake of focusing mainly on teenagers than on adults, forcing the film to tread into the slasher genre which is usually reserved for guys wearing hockey masks and big boobs (also included, in big doses). This would all be well and good if the original film was littered with unnecessary gore, dialogue and T&A. The sad fact remains that it wasn't; Pet Sematary was often intelligent and truly scary. Pet Sematary Two is just terrifying, and not for the same reasons as the original.
Characters act and react with no motivation. Dream sequences are used to excess. The 1980s inspired rock score is intrusively annoying. Gore is there just so the make-up guys have something to do. And the list goes on and on. Everything about Pet Sematary Two stinks like the dead. Anthony Edwards should never, ever leave TV again. After Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise, Edwards should consider his theatrical career closed. Edward Furlong's facial expressions resemble that of a kid who has been smoking pot behind the school bike rack…for two days straight. The only saving grace (and I am using that term lightly) is Clancy Brown as Gus, a sadistic stepfather who derives perverse pleasure in emotionally torturing his chubby stepson. His manic glee and enjoyment of the character are evident, but with the rest of the movie sinking around him like the Titanic, Brown gets lost in the mess.
Shockingly, director Mary Lambert revisits Ludlow once again, obviously assuming that she has the skill to make Pet Sematary Two transcend itself to become something really special. If so Lambert was wrong, and with this one single movie proves that she should go back to directing Madonna music videos. For fans of blood and guts, Pet Sematary Two should provide them with enough grotesque images to keep them up at night. Skinned rabbits, a boy getting his head caught in the wheel of a motorbike, and power drills jabbed into raw flesh abound, but this time it's all done with the excitement of vanilla ice cream.
Stephen, oh Stephen, where have you gone?
Pet Sematary Two is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Folks, at least I can report that the transfer looks good. I was fairly impressed with how clean the image turned out to be. Colors were even and flesh tones looked natural. Although there are some slight imperfections (some grain and a bit of edge enhancement), overall Paramount has done a great job of cleaning up this print and making it look nearly brand new.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (as well as Dolby Surround and French Stereo). Although not as aggressive as some 5.1 mixes, this track is very good at enveloping the viewer in the world of the dead (and cheese). In many instances speakers were fully utilized and effects swarmed around the viewer. While it may not be reference quality, this track should please horror fans looking for eerie effects and creepy music. Also included are English subtitles only (though I can assure any deaf Spaniards or Frenchmen that you aren't missing out on much).
The only extra feature included on this disc is an original theatrical trailer. Raise some hell, indeed.
You can find Pet Sematary Two for around $25. Notice that I said you could find it—I didn't say you should pick it up. Although both the video and audio portions of this disc are adequate, the lack of supplemental material leaves something to be desired. Then again, if Mary Lambert had recorded a commentary track for Pet Sematary Two, what would it have sounded like?
"Hi, this is Mary Lambert, director of Pet Sematary Two. I can't tell you what the hell I was thinking when I signed on to do this sequel. Go rent the first movie and bury this one under a pile of hot coals."
I think that's pretty close to what the length and content of the track would have been. If you are a gore hound and feel that you just MUST see this movie, rent it and return it as quickly as possible.
Paramount is acquitted for a decent transfer and a nice 5.1 audio track. Everyone who participated in Pet Sematary Two is guilty of making a shameless sequel that easily ranks as one of the worst ideas in cinematic history, standing tall with such travesties as Weekend At Bernie's II and anything featuring Yahoo Serious.
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