Sometimes remakes are better. New takes on stories can improve on stories and themes by telling stories in a different way or shifting the look and feel of different elements. Sometimes, remakes can even improve on the visual effects of a film to create a final product pleasing to fans. However, when it comes to the latest adaptation of Pet Sematary, that doesn't quite appear to be the case -- at least not when it comes to the film's CinemaScore.
CinemaScore, the company that measures audience reaction to films, has given Pet Sematary a C+ score. In academic terms, that's a pretty middle of the road score, not great like the A score earned by Captain Marvel last month or even Shazam!, which also opened in theaters this weekend or the rather dismal D+ the critically-praised Hereditary received last summer. However, it is better than the film's Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. That score, calculated by looking at the positive and negative critical reviews, is currently sitting at 62%, meaning that of the 165 total reviews currently listed, 63 of them are negative or "rotten".
The second big screen adaptation of King's seminal horror novel, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family's new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Grandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, the film makes a few changes from book to screen and received generally favorable responses form early screenings as well as from author King himself.
"It's f—ing great! It's a really good movie," acclaimed novelist King told EW of the 2019 remake.
"It's a grown-up, adult kind of movie. It's not like 12 semi-clad teens get killed in a summer camp. In this particular time frame, you know, there've been several movies that have been successful. Horror movies like Jordan Peele's Get Out last year. And then I think when Us opens, I think it's gonna be big. I think it's gonna be huge. Those are like adult-type fantasies."
However, even with the high praise from King, it appears that not everything has worked for all audiences. Even ComicBook.com's own review of the film noted that there are a few set pieces that don't fully work. Specifically of note, the ancient burial ground never manages to look like anything less than a sound stage set enhanced with some weak digital effects and a lot of fog machines while Rachel's story arc is doesn't quite get the depth of attention and development that it does in the novel -- something that was a weakness of the first adaptation as well.
And overall, the C+ CinemaScore seems to line up with those weaknesses. CinemaScore uses a series of ballots to poll moviegoers across North America. Once a film is over, members turn in the ballot which is then tabulated into an A-F CinemaScore which means that the score is granted only be people have actually seen the full film -- making it a more authentic response to the film. With moviegoers themselves pointing out some of the film's weaknesses, a C+ feels pretty on point.
Of course, a C+ CinemaScore doesn't mean that fans aren't coming out for the film. It's currently sitting in the second place spot at the box office this weekend, just behind the eagerly-anticipated DCEU installment, Shazam!
Have you seen Pet Sematary? Do you agree with its CinemaScore? Let us know in the comments below.
Pet Sematary is in theaters now.
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