This is an odd one to remake as the 1992 original is generally regarded as one of the more successful of Stephen King’s novel adaptations. That could be because he wrote the screenplay and director Mary Lambert fashioned a very unsettling film out of it.

What has happened here is that the story is basically the same though with some changes, - presumably to keep interest and give some justification to the project. However, these don’t help what is in the end a fairly routine 15 rated crowd-pleasing horror that Blumhouse has perfected.

Dr Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) has moved his family; wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and children Elle and Gage (Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie) out rural Maine to start new life. The house is large with a lot of terrain, part of which is a pet semetary where local children have for generations buried their dead pets. And it just so happens that a very creepy cortege of animal masked youngsters passes them as they are moving in.

Also coming with the territory, figuratively speaking, is mine of local information Jud Crandell (John Lithgow) who befriends the family and explains that their land goes well beyond the semetary’s woodpile barrier, though much more he won’t say about it.

At work Louis can’t save the life of a young man Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed) who was hit by a car but as a sort of thanks Pascow’s ghost passes on a warning about future events, a warning that recurs several times during the film.
Which is in tune with the gloominess of Matt Greenberg’s script that has the Creeds almost constantly talking about death, and which they have to confront when Elle’s cat is killed. Though its not an issue she has to deal with as she says he’s been sleeping with her all night when dad plucks up the courage to tell her!

Those familiar with the story will have a good idea where it is going, for others saying to much more would give the game away. Suffice to say that events start to pile up on events as there are consequences to actions that spiral out of control.

Directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have got a competent enough horror film here with the requisite gore and jumps. The cast are good without anyone standing out, professional without going through the motions.
It just doesn’t really get to grip with what is really a grim story and the taboos within. There’s never really any sense of dread or oppressive atmosphere that these subjects should create. It’s not by any means jolly it just putters on its way and eventually is just a bit silly.