Pet Sematary: Bloodlines resurrects the familiar tale of reanimated horror in Ludlow, Maine, circa 1969, but fails to breathe new life into the franchise. Directed by Lindsey Anderson Beer, this low-budget prequel attempts to deepen the lore surrounding the enigmatic Jud Crandall and the Mi’kmaq burial ground. However, despite a few fleeting moments of promise, the film struggles to escape the shadow of its predecessors.
The story revolves around Jud (Jackson White), a restless teenager yearning to leave Ludlow, who finds himself entangled in a series of gruesome events. After a violent incident involving his girlfriend Norma (Natalie Alyn Lind) and a childhood friend, Timmy (Jack Mulhern), Jud discovers a dark force at play. While the film hints at interesting themes, particularly in a captivating flashback to 1674, these concepts are buried beneath uninspired performances and lackluster execution.
One of the film’s major pitfalls lies in its character development. Timmy, portrayed as a walking manifestation of PTSD, falls flat in his transformation from a troubled war veteran to a mindless killing machine. Despite attempts to infuse depth, the character lacks the nuance needed to evoke genuine fear. David Duchovny and Pam Grier, playing townspeople plagued by an ancestral curse, deliver disappointingly flat performances, further dampening the film’s impact.
Forrest Goodluck stands out as Manny, Jud’s childhood friend, providing a glimmer of authenticity amidst the mediocrity. Goodluck’s performance lends credibility to the Native lore embedded in Stephen King’s original novel, elevating the film momentarily. However, these rare moments of brilliance are overshadowed by muddy cinematography and an overall lack of suspense.
Director Lindsey Anderson Beer, known for her work on the Netflix rom-com “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” struggles to navigate the horror genre. The film’s pacing falters, leading to a dragged-out narrative that fails to maintain audience engagement. Even the jump scares, a staple of the genre, lack impact, leaving viewers with mere glimpses of gory violence.
While “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” teases intriguing ideas, such as the poisoned history of Ludlow, these concepts are introduced fleetingly and never fully explored. The film’s potential remains buried beneath a mound of missed opportunities, leaving audiences craving a more profound and satisfying horror experience.
In the end, “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” feels like a missed chance to revive a classic tale for a new generation. Fans of the original material might find fleeting moments of nostalgia, but overall, this prequel fails to rise from the grave with the same chilling intensity that made its predecessors memorable. Sometimes, it seems, dead franchises should remain undisturbed.