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Pet Sematary 2 Main

Pet Sematary Two Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

pet sematary 2 poster large

Directed by Mary Lambert
Written by Richard Outten
1992, 100 minutes, Rated R
Released on February 25th, 2020

Edward Furlong as Jeff Matthews
Anthony Edwards as Chase Matthews
Clancy Brown as Gus Gilbert
Jared Rushton as Clyde Parker
Jason McGuire as Drew Gilbert
Darlanne Fluegel as Renee Hallow
Sarah Trigger as Marjorie Hargrove

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Following the tragic death of his mother, teenager Jeff Matthews moves to the small town of Ludlow, Maine, to live with his estranged father, Chase. Jeff is having trouble coping with the loss and is dealing with the pressures of starting a new school. The bullies give him a hard time, but he makes friends with the put-upon Drew Gilbert. Drew’s stepdad Gus is the town sheriff, a difficult man to like, as he is something of a bully himself. Drew tells Jeff the local legend of the Indian burial ground near the pet cemetery that brings the dead back to life. When Drew’s dog is killed, the boys pay a visit to the site and set in motion a chain of events that lead to more deaths. Despite the fact that when they return the victims are somehow changed, Jeff is convinced he can bring his mother back and heal his family.

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is a dark tale about how we deal with death, more specifically grieving the loss of a child. For the 1989 film adaptation, King wrote the screenplay and Mary Lambert (Siesta) was hired to direct. The picture was a success and despite the fact the story is self-contained, the studio was keen on developing a sequel. Three years later, Pet Sematary Two (aka Pet Sematary II) went into production with Lambert returning to the director’s chair, but King was noticeably absent. Writing duties on the new picture fell to Richard Outten (Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland) and while the story retains the Maine setting and key premise of a magical burial ground, it introduces new characters and reinterprets the side effects of reanimation.

Pet Sematary Two bounces around in search of tone, swinging from solemn meditations on death to strong bouts of black comedy, and is driven by a rock-infused soundtrack. The film also carries a mean streak, generating a callous body count and one gratuitous scene of slaughtered kittens. Not everyone who dies gets brought back, but in a truly head-scratching moment early on, the boys decide to resurrect the recently deceased Gus, who was already a huge dick before coming back as an even more sadistic bastard. Gus is hard to pin down in terms of character, as he is a jerk in life but returns with mixed motivations – in one scene he protects Jeff from a bully, but in the very next scene hunts down his family in a murderous rampage.

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Edward Furlong (Brainscan) takes on his first film with top billing, and handles the challenge capably. His character is brooding and grief-stricken and feels threatened by the pretty new housekeeper with eyes for his father. Jeff is more of an observer for most of the picture before committing to digging his own hole in the burial ground. Furlong shines as a troubled teen and holds his own against the more seasoned cast members. Anthony Edwards (Top Gun) co-stars as Jeff’s dad, a thoughtful and decent man who is the moral center of the film. Edwards and Furlong work well together and share a few quiet moments that stand out in a frequently chaotic tale. The always-welcome Clancy Brown (The Bride) steals the show as Gus, the hard-ass stepfather who switches from simple antagonist to full-on villain when he returns from the grave as a rapey, violent monster.

It is surprising there are not stronger female characters in this film; the ones that are present are mistreated and generally relegated to the sidelines before being murdered. Pet Sematary Two is a giant step down from its predecessor and remains a largely unnecessary sequel, but Lambert does her best with the material. The film features some great cinematography by Russell Carpenter (The Lawnmower Man), who would go on to make several pictures with James Cameron. Despite its shortcomings, there are some inspired moments of insanity and the picture is worth checking out for Brown’s performance alone. Stephen King may have washed his hands of it, but there is a dedicated fan base since this movie frequently ran on late-night cable television. For longtime fans, this new Blu-ray release is a no-brainer, but casual viewers will be satisfied to catch this one streaming.

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Video and Audio:

Scream Factory pulls out all the stops with a gorgeous new 4K scan and restoration of the original camera negative presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors pop and black levels are rock solid with an uptick in clarity surpassing all previous releases.

Both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix offer respectable audio options. Music cues benefit from the expanded track and there is a bit more activity in the rear channels. Dialogue levels are always clean and understandable and optional English subtitle s are provided for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Director Mary Lambert provides an insightful audio commentary that examines the film’s production history and its relationship to its predecessor. She reflects on her time directing popular music videos before switching to film and discusses the undertaking of running a set. Other topics include casting, shooting on location in Georgia, working with teens and animals, praise for her cast and crew, and the level of detail she gave in crafting a rock-heavy soundtrack. She tells many interesting production stories and offers her thoughts on the film’s release and audience reception.

Edward Furlong sits down for an enthusiastic chat in Young and Brooding (14 minutes) in which he looks back on his early success in the industry offering some memories of filming Terminator 2. He goes on to talk about working with other teen actors and animals on this film and shooting outside of California. He has kind words for Mary Lambert as a director as well as his co-stars.

In Playing Over-the-Top (21 minutes), Clancy Brown provides a look back at his previous film work before moving on to discuss what appealed to him about Pet Sematary Two. He talks about working with Lambert on creating the appropriate tone of such a big performance. Other topics include memories of his co-stars and working with special effects.

Jason McGuire talks about being a child actor in Georgia in My First Film (24 minutes). He remembers the audition process and the encouragement he received from the adult cast members. He continues with his experiences of working with animals and shooting the car sequence and shares some of his favorite scenes and life after the movie wrapped.

Special make-up effects artist Steve Johnson (Big Trouble in Little China) reveals a wager he placed with Clancy Brown in A Thousand Dollar Bet (16 minutes). He goes on to discuss specific gags, including the zombie dog, designing the motorcycle kill, the exploding head and the melting woman in the attic. Johnson is an excellent storyteller and his segment here is entertaining.

Orchestrating Grunge (30 minutes) finds composer Mark Governor remembering his early days working for Roger Corman. For this film he talks about working closely with Lambert on taking an edgy approach to the soundtrack with an emphasis on rock elements and then balancing them with traditional orchestration.

The original theatrical trailer is included, but contains a fair number of spoilers.

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Movie: Twoandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fourstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Robert Gold
Author: Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer - USA
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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