2019 ‘Pet Sematary’ Remake ‘Psychologically Horrific,’ Avoiding Original’s Camp

Jeff Buhler, the screenwriter of Pet Sematary, has high ambitions for the upcoming remake. “I think we’re on track to make it one of the scariest Stephen King adaptations ever. That’s our goal, anyway.”

Buhler, who wrote Midnight Meat Train and upcoming remakes or reboots of Jacob’s Ladder and The Grudge, spoke at length with Dread Central about Pet Sematary, describing how his version, directed by Starry Eyes duo Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, will hew closer to King’s 1983 novel than the 1989 movie.

“As much as all of us are huge fans of the original film, there are moments that are larger than life and feel borderline campy,” Buhler said. “Our desire was to tell a really grounded, character-driven and psychologically horrific version of Pet Sematary, which, in my belief, is the scariest book that King ever wrote.”

In other words, don’t expect this new Pet Sematary to be as loaded with weird Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) Maine-isms and Ramones tracks.

In the original novel, King focuses intensely on the psychological torment of losing a child, which eventually tempts Dr. Louis Creed to bury his son Gage at a cursed burial ground, where the dead return to life. “As a father of a five-year-old and a nine-year-old, I really connected to this story of grief and loss and what it could do to a family in a different way,” Buhler told Dread Central. “How far would a parent go to return to their life, prior to a tragic event?”

While Buhler wants to focus on the psychological torment, we’re also likely to see the return of some of the more horror-oriented characters. “There may be Victor, there may be some Zelda,” Buhler said, naming a car crash victim who haunts Dr. Creed and the sister of his wife Rachel, who died of spinal meningitis, traumatizing Rachel as a child.

“If you love the book, you’ll love this movie,” Buhler said.

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