Please note if you have not seen the original feature or remake of Pet Sematary this article does include spoilers for both films.
Pet Sematary is the story that was never meant to see the light of day. For fans of the story, we can all thank the contract Stephen King was under at Doubleday which required him to release one more book under them. King has often said that he feels Pet Sematary is his most terrifying story above all the others he has written over the years. While people give that honor to It and The Shining most of the time, Pet Sematary is far more frightening of a book to endure.
The first film remained a faithful adaptation to the original story. While most of the time this is what an avid reader wants, in this case as most people know already, the death which occurs in the book is hard to read. It’s hard to bare witness to in many ways because none of us want are comfortable watching the death of a child. Despite not seeing anything horribly grotesque in the actions that take place, the knowledge of what we do not see occur is still absolutely heart wrenching.
In the remake, which hit theaters this past Friday, we see a much different ending. This is in part because the film focuses on an entirely different narrative all together. In the sequel a part of the novel that was somewhat neglected in the original comes to life. Even when we briefly see the mythical creature, the wendigo. Various interpretations of this particular evil spirit, but even though murder is one of the themes focused upon in the feature, I think the wendigo was far more into corrupting its host with greed as well.
Audiences primarily see this in Ellie Creed. There’s no desire for human flesh like in other popular folklore of this creature, but the desire to recreate her family. The desire to destroy those around her who do not believe in her cause. One of the moments that stuck out to me the most was when Ellie explained that her mother didn’t want her there but it was okay because she didn’t want mommy there either. As I discussed with fellow writer, Jerrold Reber, this film quite literally ran with the theme “dead is better”.
After all, once Ellie kills her mother, she is the one who drags her past the Pet Sematary to what readers and fans know as the Micmac Burial Ground. She has no qualms with doing so as she attempts to fight off her father. The big difference in the ending we see in the remake than the original is we no longer have to assume Louis Creed’s wife, Rachel, murders him. Together the mother and daughter pairing drag Louis to to the burial ground and we eventually see them coming back to the car for Gage.
In many ways the ending chosen is one of the most disturbing endings that I’ve seen in a long time. They essentially are going to make their family the undead and to do so they of course have to kill their youngest child. It did not have to be this way though as Stephen King offered up a rather hopeful suggestion on how to end the remake. “I talked about an ending where Gage is walking up the middle of the road. We see dawn, and we hear a truck coming, and think, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna get greased in the road. That’s how this is gonna end!'”
This of course would be reminiscent of what occurs in both the book and the original feature. Gage is the one who dies and comes back not Ellie. However, this is not the direction the producers obviously went with. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that they “chose darkest,” which makes sense when considering Stephen King’s past novels. However, King has finally taken pity on dear Gage after all this years and offered that instead of him dying in the road “at the last second, this woman pulls him out of the road and rescues him, and says, ‘Where’s your mommy and daddy?'”
There’s something about King’s suggested ending that I absolutely love. In many ways I feel like King’s suggestion is what they should have gone with so they could have produced a much different sequel potentially where the family is hunting for Gage later in life. The idea of a happy ending for Gage though is one that even pleases King himself who remarked, “I’m a sucker for a happy ending.” I think to some degree we all are a sucker for a good ending with everything going on in our lives. In this case the alternative could have opened a whole other door to scare audiences well into the future. Only time will tell if that is even a possibility.
What do you think of King’s proposed ending? Do you like it in comparison to the remake’s ending? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Entertainment Weekly