The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1989
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Stereo, Spanish/Portuguese Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Fred Gwynne, Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Miko Hughes, Brad Greenquist
Directed by: Mary Lambert
Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
Written by: Stephen King based on his novel
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 2, 2012
After moving to an idyllic home in the countryside, life seems perfect for the Creed family...but not for long. Louis and Rachel Creed and their two young children settle in to a house that sits next door to a pet cemetery - built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Their mysterious new neighbor, Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne), hides the cemetery's darkest secret...until a family tragedy brings the secret to life. Now, an unthinkable evil is about to be resurrected.
I remember when Stephen King’s novels being adapted for the big screen were all the rage. It brought most of us out the theater and the results were usually pretty entertaining. Pet Sematary is one that I recall being decent but I haven’t seen it in years. When I saw it was announced I requested it based solely upon that recollection. The synopsis above outlines the story pretty well. An unsuspecting family moves into a house in a small town where a thoroughfare occupied primarily by tractor trailers regularly claims the lives of family pets. When the unspeakable happens a local man with past experience regarding the loss of a pet introduces them to a power that should never fall into the hands of the grief stricken. Unfortunately for everyone involved they soon come to discover that “home is where the horror is”.
I don’t know, as I watched Pet Sematary I found myself reaching to resurrect the feelings of consternation that I recalled. Unfortunately they weren’t there. All I can think about was the variety of spoofs that I have seen (mostly attributable to Fred Gwynne’s character and those familiar words used in the tag line). On top of that the performances (outside of the aforementioned Mr. Gwynne) dialogue, and situations are sorely lacking. That isn’t to say that some of the things that made Pet Sematary creepy back then are ineffective today. The weird subplot involving Rachel’s physically deformed sister Zelda has always been eerie to me and still is. Cute little Miko Hughes and those aspects of the plot still prove somewhat disturbing and the twisted ending still works. Pet Sematary twenty plus years later with its slightly disengaging effects, underwhelming storyline and campy situations doesn’t offer much in the way of genuine frights but I must admit that it still made for an enjoyable watch even if simply from a nostalgic perspective.
The rating is for disturbing images, language and thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Pet Sematary comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 Mbps.
This is a solid looking high definition Blu-ray catalog release from Paramount. It boasts clean, well depicted colors that offer a good mix of secondary hues that appear natural. Facial complexions and skin tones are warm, with pinkish highlights that rarely appear unnatural. The level of detail present is notable and gives the video’s 1.78:1 framed image good dimension. There are minor fluctuations in apparent resolution that are more than likely related to the original photography and don’t infringe upon fidelity. In most cases I had no trouble making out the thread patterns in clothing/furniture or the texture of surfaces in Jud’s old house. There are instances where the video takes on an edgy quality but I didn’t find it to be excessive or distracting. Blacks are dynamic and punchy while appearing just a tad crushed. The film’s dark sequences exhibit very good balance between light and dark content with appreciable visibility in dark/shadowy backgrounds. Grain is present and moderately textured. I didn’t see any signs of digital noise reduction or other fidelity damaging manipulation.
The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in the recording. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with clearly reproduced dialogue that extends well into the room. The soundstage is fairly wide with discernible front channel separation and good clarity. The rear channels supply ambient extension along with some discretely placed sounds that extend the soundfield and enhance envelopment. Considering the age of this recording I was impressed with its dynamic range which provided satisfying solidity and impact. Compared to today’s movie soundtracks this presentation sounds a bit dated however all things considered I was quite pleased with it.
- Audio commentary by director Mary Lambert
- Stephen King Territory – 13 minute featurette
- The characters – 12 minute featurette
- Filming the horror – 10 minute featurette
From the master of the macabre Stephen King, Pet Sematary is the big screen adaptation of his novel of the same name. The screenplay penned by King himself doesn’t seem to capture the essence of the book and feels somewhat disjointed. Watching it today those inherent traits are exacerbated by dated effects and middling performances. Be that as it may I still kind of enjoyed revisiting it especially via its solid audio/video presentation on Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment. If you’re a fan this is worth adding to your collection.
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