Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Pet Sematary the reimagined horror thriller based on the novel by Stephen King.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Paramount - 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish/English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French Spanish
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence
Directed by: Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer
Music by: Christopher Young
Written by: Jeff Buhler Based on the novel by Stephen King
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 9, 2019
"They Don’t Come Back the Same"

“Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.” – Paramount Home Media Distribution

My Take:

After the Creed family relocates from Boston to rural Maine, they soon discover an ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, the grief-stricken father is driven by the cemetery’s sinister power, setting off a perilous chain of events that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. Some secrets are best left buried.

Based on the classic novel by Stephen King and adapted by screenwriter Jeff Buhler Pet Sematary primarily follows the story arc, much like the 1989 film of the same name which was written for the screen by King himself. Directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmeyer this adaptation attempts to liven up the story by making a few narrative changes. While I had no problem with that unfortunately there just isn’t enough hair raising to make for a compelling chiller. The original 1989 film gets by on the strength of its now nostalgic appeal and Fred Guinn’s wonderful performance.

By today’s standards the context of the story as it stands isn’t dark enough to get the hairs to stand up on seasoned genre fans. Don’t misunderstand, there are things that I liked here. The performances by Jason Clarke and young Jete Laurence are quite good, hers in particular, as she pretty much steals the show. I am a John Lithgow fan, through and through but, there simply wasn’t enough for him to work with.

The elements of fright are essentially non-existent although much of that is owed to knowing where things are going, save for the aforementioned tweaks. There is an alternate ending included but, it really didn’t add anything of value. At the end of the day Pet Sematary is best served on the big screen by the original film. I do think that this one has merit, especially for fans of the story but, keep expectations in check.

Replay Value: 3 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for horror violence, bloody images, and some language.

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.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Pet Sematary comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Pet Sematary was derived from digital sources and finished on what appears to be a 2K DI, although, I wasn’t able to confirm this.

First and foremost, this isn’t a bright or colorful film, predominantly adhering to relatively cooler, teal and sepia splashed chromatic schemes, which doesn't make for especially eye-catching levels of color. This is intentional, in trying to keep with the stylistic aesthetic of the director’s vision. Fleshtones looked about the same, which is to say, a bit pallid, but not overtly unnatural.

Shot digitally, resolution is generally strong, although I wouldn’t say there was a noteworthy uptick in sharpness and detail compared to the Blu-ray. Upon closer inspection, I could make out finer details in facial features, clothing, and the various interiors of the dwellings featured in the story. On occasion, discernible improvements in depth could be seen in wide angle shots, but in most respects, I saw only incremental differences in apparent resolution when comparing select scenes from the UHD and Blu-ray.

The added dimension in the grays, blacks, and shadows gives the image excellent depth. The exterior sequences with their overcast skies, moody visual aesthetic and razor sharpness looked terrific. I found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights. I found only a few occasions where the presentation made visually compelling use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements. I did find that the presentation’s use of HDR emboldened streaming/natural lighting schemes which fell within the film’s thematic subject matter.

The 1080p rendering of Pet Sematary is quite good so the difference between the two isn't night and day, but overall, I was very pleased with this presentation, finding that it trumps the Blu-ray.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Pet Sematary, I found the HDR rendering to essentially be identical. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to bright color and vibrant highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings, any minute differences were negligible and not enough to warrant a rating difference. Both looked solid, leaving me similarly satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

This is a solid immersive listening experience that runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialog to room traversing sounds effects that deliver head turning surround sound. As an enthusiast, I appreciate a well-crafted sound mix that draws me into the onscreen elements, regardless of where the sounds are emanating from. Audio object placement from both above and in the listening plane at ear level, are put to effective use.

I appreciated the added dimension during sequences where subtle spacial cues replicated the environments contained in the scene or placed specific audio objects within the soundstage so as to create an intended audio-visual response. Overall, I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that this immersive sound mix complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Pet Sematary comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Images onscreen have excellent depth and dimension. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Pet Sematary looks great on Blu-ray.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Atmos core) soundtrack has good dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t extensive however the elements of fright provide an enriching level of immersion which is punctuated by palpably rich bass. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. This surround mix capably handles the subtle intricacies thrown at by this soundtrack as it augments the thematic tone of this film.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Pet Sematary Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Pet Sematary Blu-ray
    • Alternate Ending
    • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    • Night Terrors – Family Haunting Visions
    o Louis
    o Rachel
    o Ellie
    • The Tale of Timmy Baterman
    • Beyond the Deadfall
    o Chapter One: Resurrection – Directors, screenwriters and cast discuss bringing this classic back to life
    o Chapter Two: The Final Resting Place—A deeper look into finding the right location for the terror to unfold
    o Chapter Three: The Road to Sorrow— Inside the film’s tragic themes and creating the iconic cat “Church”
    o Chapter Four: Death Comes home—Unearth the creepy elements behind the climax and final scenes of the film
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Based on the classic novel by Stephen King and adapted by screenwriter Jeff Buhler Pet Sematary is a bland remake that feels like a missed opportunity. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring excellent Ultra HD video, including Dolby Vision HDR, engaging lossless surround and a worthwhile supplement package. While I can’t recommend Pet Sematary as a blind buy I think that it deserves a spot in the rental queues of fans that enjoy the original story.
No code has to be inserted here.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems