Pet Sematary II (1992)

Why do I torture myself? I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that AMC Cinemas purchased my beloved Kerasotes theater chain, and promptly discontinued the Five Buck Club, my only source of entertainment outside of TiVo and reading. Given this disturbing development, I will probably be limited to reviewing movies that are available on my limited cable package and Redbox (apart from some Shakespeare adaptations to be reviewed later in July/August).

The first question must be with the tite: why “Sematary” with an “S”? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, that spelling is f^&*ed up (actual quote). I guess you have to read the book by Steven King to know the answer, and that ain’t happenin'(maybe something to do with children creating the place, crafty children with the ability to fashion weird wooden representations of their pets that never decay over time, but not spell correctly).

Secondly, why a second movie? The first movie was all about a father’s desperate attempts to cheat death through unnatural means, against all kinds of ominous warnings to the contrary (the most potent being the old guy who tried to revive his son, only to create a monster). Believing that was enough of a stretch. But of course, in PSII they have to outdo the previous movie with more bodies and more gruesome fatalities, so we get an even more thinly stretched storyline.

Edward Furlong, notable for Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) reprises his role as a renegade, sullen teenager from a broken home for PSII. Anthony Edwards plays his father, estranged husband to a recently killed actress (Darlanne Fluegel) who achieves temporary rest after being electrocuted on the set of her new horror film. The survivors move to Ludlow, Maine, a city full of people without New England accents. I’m no linguist, but why would the Sheriff who was born and raised in Ludlow, Maine have an accent similar to this famous cartoon rooster? Keynote speech at Linguistic Society of America 2011 here I come!

My amazing discovery aside, Furlong and the Sheriff’s son bury a dog at the cursed Indian burial grounds after the overly sleazy Sheriff murders the poor animal for disrupting his sleazy, drunken tryst with the boy’s mother; did I mention the Sheriff character is sleazy, and he’s an evil stepfather to boot (weirdly enough, he’s played by comic book animation voice actor Clancy Brown).

When doing some lite research (Wikipedia) I discovered that a graveyard is a confined area next to a building of worship, while a pastoral cemetery (or sematary, if you will) as we know it is usually outside of city limits thus preventing disease from decaying corpses. This Semetary is in a salt flat, which certainly makes it isolated, but seems slightly unusual for Maine (but I’ve never been there so what do I know).

*Spoiler Alert* Needless to say the dog comes back as a cheap Cujo knockoff, kills the hated Sheriff, who the boys inexplicably bring back using the Semetary. The Sheriff kills his family, digs up Edward’s wife/Furlong’s mother, somehow deposits her and the town bully (who the Sheriff also kills) into the Indian burial ground at Furlong’s request (like a traditional Caribbean work-slave zombie I might add) and there is a bloody confrontation in Furlong/Edward’s attic in which the bully and mom are electrocuted and burned to death, respectively.

Now when experimenting with an Indian burial ground corpse revival goes wrong the first time, why try it again? Sadly, this movie only gives us the thinnest attempt at an answer to the tune of “maybe it’ll work better this time!” I guess having your former mom scream “Dead is better! Dead is better!” while being burned to death would sour your optimism, but you never know, Pet Sematary III might just be a pitch away…now that’s scary stuff.

In any case:

1/10: Sometimes, the death of a storyline is better