'Pet Sematary' Remake Directors Detail Their Approach to Zelda Scenes

Of the many memorable elements of the first adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary, one that stood out with viewers was the image of Zelda, who suffered from spinal meningitis. According to the directors of the new adaptation, they aim to stick closer to the source material in their interpretation of the character.

“It’s more accurate to the book, I’ll just say that,” co-director Dennis Widmyer revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “In the original movie, it’s a 21-year-old guy in drag playing it, and in the book, as you recall, it’s a 10-year-old girl.”

Actor Andrew Hubatsek portrayed the role in the previous adaptation, using his physicality to convey an unsettlingly contorted depiction of the character, burning the image into our mind for decades. Alyssa Brooke Levine plays the character in the new film, who is much closer in age to the character in the original story.

“You go, ‘How do you top Zelda?’” Widmyer, who directed alongside Kevin Kolsch, noted. “It was big and scary and awesome, but if you think about the reality of the Zelda situation, what that would do to a family, with her wasting away in this bedroom, and a younger sister being frightened of her older sister’s debilitating illness, that on its own is pretty scary.”

The previous adaptation also used a number of editing effects to give Zelda an otherworldly presence, with this new adaptation aiming to stay more grounded in reality. Widmyer hopes that “the grounded nature of that horror would actually be scarier than a supernatural version of it.”

He added, “The nurse, the medical equipment, what that room would feel like as a layer of dust went on everything.” This approach will hopefully show “how that would seem from the perspective of an 8-year-old, going into that room to bring food to her, and how scary that would be.”

Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, 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 Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Fans will say how this new approach pays off when Pet Sematary hits theaters on April 5, 2019.

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[H/T Entertainment Weekly]