“I will say this, if you love the book, you’ll love this movie,” Buhler tells Dread Central.
The re-imagining comes from Starry Eyes directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, who are “both such visionaries in terms of how they’ve approached it, from not only a horror standpoint but also a character standpoint, and it’s been really gratifying to work with those guys,” the screenwriter says.
“I think we’re on track to make it one of the scariest Stephen King adaptations ever! That’s our goal, anyway.”
“It f—kid me when I read it in high school,” Buhler admits.
“I always remember hearing that it was the one book King chucked in the garbage, because it was too scary and dark, and it was his wife and his friend Peter Straub who were like, ‘You have to publish this.’”
“Now, as a father of a five year old and a nine year old, I really connected to this story of grief and loss and what it could do to a family in a different way, in that, how far would a parent go to return to their life prior to a tragic event?” Buhler says.
“All of that feels so poignant and universal. It’s our desire to really reconnect to those elements of the story and bring them into a world that speaks to the modern horror audience.”
Asked if rotting apparition Victor Pascow (played by Brad Greenquist in the 1989 iteration) will be included, Buhler answers, “There may be Victor, there may be some Zelda, and there will definitely be some Louis and Rachel and Gage and Ellie.”
“When we first started our conversations, Dennis and Kevin and I really connected around the idea of bringing the story back to the source material, to find a modern telling of the book that really spoke to some of the big scenes and big moments that Stephen King had originally written,” Buhler says of the story, which focuses on a tucked away rural cemetery whose residents are reanimated.
“As much as all of us are huge fans of the original film, there are moments that are larger than life and feel borderline campy,” he explains.
“Our desire was to tell a really grounded, character driven and psychologically horrific version of Pet Sematary, which in my belief, is the scariest book that King ever wrote.”
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Terminator Genisys star Jason Clarke is on board to play Louis Creed, where he’ll be joined by John Lithgow as Jud Crandall.
Paramount has set Pet Sematary for April 19, 2019.