Paramount Pictures | Release Date: April 21, 1989 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Generally unfavorable reviews based on 12 Critic Reviews
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There is a crazed, dark poetry here, but Mary Lambert's direction of Pet Sematary captures none of it, and the film falls into a flat, frequently laughable literalism. [24 Apr 1989, p.C2]
As time goes on, and more King comes to the screen, The Shining, once widely disparaged, looks better and better. At least that film translated some of King's terror; subsequent adaptations, Pet Sematary included, do little more than animate the gore. [24 Apr 1989, p.C6]
The film's only bright notes are Fred Gwynne's flavorful performance as a bucolic neighbor, his Herman Munster basso in full throttle, and the lovely Maine settings. If Pet Sematary could have boasted more authentic details in telling its devastating story, it might have been a classic instead of just another pet peeve. [25 Apr 1989, p.9D]
Part of the reason Pet Sematary is so pedestrian is that its leads - Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby - are uncharismatic. And director Mary Lambert, of Siesta and music video fame, doesn't know how to build and pace her material. [21 Apr 1989, p.46]
Had the film version of Pet Sematary, adapted straightforwardly by King himself from the novel, and directed with horrifying ineptitude by Mary Lambert (Siesta), been any good, it would have been a sizzling shockeroonie, in that it deals, to borrow King's italicized style, with things best left undealt with, notably resurrected murderous children and the terrors instilled by terminal illness. [24 Apr 1989]