The first images from Paramount’s remake of Pet Sematary have arrived, teasing an all-new vision of one of Stephen King’s darkest and most terrifying works. King’s original novel was published in 1983, and was first adapted as a film in 1989. A sequel called Pet Sematary Too was released in 1992. The new version is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) from a script by Jeff Buhler and David Kajganich.
King’s story revolves around Dr. Louis Creed and his family after they move from Chicago to rural Maine, and soon discover that their idyllic existence hides a terrifying secret. That secret begins to be revealed after the family cat is killed on the busy highway near their farm, and Louis buries it in a nearby burial ground for dead pets. The cat comes back to life, but it’s not exactly the same animal it was before. From there, things only get darker and more horrifying for Louis and his wife and kids.
Amid a surge of Stephen King-related adaptations spurred by the monumental success of 2017’s IT, Paramount will release a new version of Pet Sematary starring Jason Clarke as Louis Creed, Amy Seimetz as his wife Rachel and John Lithgow in the pivotal role of the Creeds’ kindly new neighbor Jud Crandall. EW has now dropped a load of first look images giving fans a glimpse of this new version of a novel so dark, even King later admitted he got carried away with his own grim vision. See the images below:
The images featured above will be familiar to anyone who read King’s original book or saw the 1989 film adaptation. Of particular interest is the first look at Church, the family cat who meets an untimely end on the highway, only to come back as a much scragglier and more vicious version of his former self. As the book and movie famously say, “Sometimes dead is better,” and that’s definitely the case for Church. Of course, things spiral quickly after Louis discovers the power of the pet burial ground and uses it again after an even more horrific death.
One important aspect of the new remake is John Lithgow stepping into the shoes of Fred Gwynne, who memorably played Jud Crandall in the first movie. Lithgow told EW about his vision of Crandall:
“He’s a loner, and he’s chosen to be alone. His life changed. He was a man whose entire life was wrapped up with his marriage, his wife. And they didn’t have children, but they wanted children. In the script there’s this very simple and sweet line, ‘It didn’t work out for Norma and me. We wanted to keep ourselves to ourselves.’ You just know that was a really, really deep relationship. And the loss of that relationship has defined his life ever since.”
One key character from the book and first movie not featured in the above images is Zelda, the sister of Rachel Creed, who died at a young age after being bed-ridden for years with spinal meningitis and whose memory still haunts Rachel years later. In the original movie, Zelda’s age was changed and the female character was famously played by male actor Andrew Hubatsek in drag. But as remake co-director Dennis Widmyer told EW, this time around Zelda will be closer to the version featured in the book (13-year-old actress Alyssa Brooke Levine has already been cast in the role). As producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained, the new Pet Sematary will (like the first movie) explore our understanding of life and death, while asking the question “How far would you go to see someone again?”