PET SEMETARY: BLOODLINES
Starring: Jackson White, Forrest Goodluck, Jack Mulhern, Henry Thomas, Natalie Alyn Lind, Isabella Star LaBlanc, Samantha Mathis, Pam Grier, and David Duchovney
Director: Lindsey Anderson Beer
This film has been reviewed by Nick and Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of Fantastic Fest 2023.
If you're looking for Pet Sematary: Bloodlines to justify its existence, it doesn't. It's pretty much a rehash of the original story of Ludlow with a different coat of paint. Having said that, as a standalone horror, it's a nice introduction for a new generation to the Pet Sematary concept. Even if you aren't new to the franchise, there’s still enough thrills and chills here to provide a satisfying watch. The backstory of Jud Crandall (Jackson White) may be unnecessary, but it still makes for a more interesting story than the 2019 remake of the 1989 original.
As a huge fan of 1989’s Pet Sematary (it remains one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, in fact), the idea of a prequel that explores the lore of the titular graveyard had my attention immediately. However, Bloodlines isn’t really interested in exploring that lore in any meaningful way. Director Lindsey Anderson Beer mostly just throws jump scares, blood, gore, and slight nods to the IP at the screen in hopes that it will be enough. Sadly, it is not. When you pair that with very mediocre acting, you end up with a franchise entry that embodies its most known quote: “Sometimes dead is better.”
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines left me wondering, “who asked for this film?” It gave me the same bad taste that I’ve experienced with many recent horror prequels or reboots. It’s a totally lifeless, uninspired re-telling of the original story, featuring underdeveloped characters and lackluster performances (with the notable exception of Isabella Star LaBlanc). The film rests on relationships between lifelong friends, as well as fathers and sons; however, we never explore their emotional bonds, and therefore have no reason to be invested in them. This franchise did not deserve to be resurrected.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is a lifeless prequel that loses all the terror the original film brought to the table. Pet Sematary (1989) worked so well because it was simple, with the draw of the story coming from the characters and their choices. The cemetery itself was just a plot device; we didn’t need a movie about its origin story. Bloodlines is needlessly complicated and entirely aimless, and it seems disinterested in exploring loss in any meaningful way, choosing instead to bore its audience to death with terrible characters and convoluted world-building. Just like everything else in the pet sematary, this franchise should’ve stayed dead.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines might just be a serious contender for dullest movie of the year. This uninspired horror has nothing going for it, outside of some very cheap gore effects (most of which are done off screen) and extremely predictable jump scares. To top it off, every single performance in this film is completely wooden; however, in the actor’s defence, the script is so weak that they had very little to work with, anyway. Sadly, there is not a single redeeming quality in Bloodlines that makes this film worth watching. The entire film is as generic as the title.