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Pet Sematary Two – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

While the original Pet Sematary (Adapted from the novel by Stephen King) has had a vast wealth of Blu-ray releases, even a 4K Ultra-HD release, as well as a remake even gracing both formats, the sequel to the original has be stuck as DVD only for years and years. But alas, not anymore as the Scream Factory – Paramount Blu-ray partnership continues to give and give for us horror aficionados. The possibly forgotten Edward Furlong-starring sequel has its fans and has been on the demand list for a good while now. Scream Factory recognizes that and is giving it the coveted Collector’s Edition release featuring brand new interviews and a 4K scan of the original camera negative. Yes, they got Furlong to come back and talk about the film. This exciting release will be able to be your when it arrives on February 25th. There is a link to pre-order following the review which is for a paid Amazon Associates account.

Film

After the death of his wife, veterinarian Chase Matthews and his 13-year-old son, Jeff, move to Ludlow to rebuild their lives. Antagonized by the neighborhood kids, Jeff befriends another outsider, Drew Gilbert, who lives in fear of his cruel stepfather, Gus. After Gus cold-bloodedly shoots Drew’s beloved dog, the boys bury the body in the local Indian burial grounds – a place rumored to have the powers of resurrection. But when evil is awakened, the boys realize that sometimes you should just let dead dogs lie.

Pet Sematary Two spins us the same idea as the first film, but happening to different people, which sends things in different directions. Mary Lambert’s film stands proudly alone, making the seeing the first one just a hair of an added bonus. This one is clearly easy to follow and its own film that is a complete idea start to finish. While it could simply be dumped in the “More of the same” bin, it actually is quite different, making for a pretty surprisingly fun sequel.

Where the first film focused on a good-natured family trapped in a nightmare life event and the unassuming facing the repercussions of a desperate decision, the sequel takes a look at the other kind of people. Like many horror sequels before it, Pet Sematary Two holds up a mirror to the original and does the opposite of what the first film did, making a natural progression in the exploration of the concept. In the first film, the Sematary turned once good people into evil zombies, this film takes a look at what happens when already bad people are given such supernatural afterlife powers. Heck, they even bring a dog back from the dead instead of a cat.

Speaking of bad people, Clancy plays as asshole sheriff and step-father to the protagonist’s friend. He’s a big prick BEFORE he’s killed and resurrected. However, its after he rises that Brown just takes over the movie and becomes its key ingredient. Sure, he’s a bit over the top and campy, but I’m loving watching it and Brown is all in. Its a wild mixture of being scary, humorous and darkly comedic in one swift punch.  Gus Gilbert is almost the perfect answer to his Kurgan character from Highlander. He’s even putting in some really weird southern/cajun kind of accent as well. This performance could have sank most any other movie, but its handled very well and able to keep in tune with everything else and be used to great effect.

Mary Lambert directs the film and is that person utilizing everything to great effect. She has a hand in both terror and camp and is able to mix them and craft a tragic narrative so well. There’s a focus on gore a bit more to both gross and humorous sensibilities. Considering the story is from the perspective of a kid, its the right direction to carry the film. Lambert is also not afraid to punch in the gut or “go there”. She’s crafted a film that really does feel unpredictable and is full of some surprise turns at each step of the way.

While the first Pet Sematary is held in high regard by many in the horror and Stephen King circles, Pet Sematary Two doesn’t feel that far “off” from it. And those “off” kind of moments are what make this one a bit more unique and a pretty fun watch. Probably not as well received upon release (Lots of horror isn’t), years later its pretty refreshing and respectable. A completely enjoyable, complete idea all on its own, casting its own shadow and not hidden behind the original’s.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream Factory’s debut release of Pet Sematary Two onto the Blu-ray format features a 4K transfer of the original negative as overseen by director Mary Lambert.  And this is a transfer you can truly tell some nice work was done and the the negative was kept in good conditions. Its a clear, sharper picture with a nice retention and complimentary layer of grain. Details are pretty strong with enjoyable, discernible textures and such from any reasonable given distance in the shot. It features a natural looking palette of colors with some good horror-friendly shadows and darkness.

Depth: This one has overall pretty good depth of field, but time to time has moments that are insanely impressive. There was a shot where the friend comes home and his mother is waiting for him at the kitchen table that looked wildly three dimension with such great, deep pushback and space. Other moments like that one occurred a few times as well. The film overall has some good spacing and looseness to it. Movement is natural, cinematic and smooth with no distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite deep and as close to their natural state as a standard Blu-ray is going to allow. Lots of Shadow and definition provided. No real severe issues with details being hidden and not crushing occurred.

Color Reproduction:  This isn’t the most colorful of movies, but it nails the fall feeling and wonderfully produces the rustic palette on display. Fabrics that have a bit more of flash to it does reverberate accordingly in the image.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial textures and features are pretty well discernible from most reasonable distances showcasing some make-up, bruising, blemishes, stubble, wrinkles and more.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Pet Sematary Two arrives with a very nice 5.1 track that is plenty loud and provides some surprisingly good impact in the essential action sequences. Its a well balanced mix with good nuances and interplay between the score, effects and vocals with none of them stepping on the others’ toes and each having moments to show off and command without upstaging its counterparts.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension: Some good, deeper tones feel the bump of the subwoofer from crashes, engines humming, gunshots and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: This mix really does a pretty solid job in fulfilling the other speakers with good contributions beyond ambiance. While it isn’t overly done, there are some nice unique contributions and thoughtful additions to compliment a scene.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Everpresent no matter how big the action surrounding the characters can be at any given moment.

Extras

Pet Sematary Two – Collector’s Edition features a reversible cover displaying the original theatrical poster on the other side.

Audio Commentary

  • With director Mary Lambert

Interview With Actor Edward Furlong (HD, 13:32) – This is a fun and tight interview with the T2 legend who is pretty bubbly, smiling and enjoying his reflection on the film. While there are touches about how he got the part for T2 this is primarily focused on Pet Sematary which Furlong says he took because he was a big horror fan and wanted to see how they were made. Furlong is completely honest and holds nothing back, even funnily dogging the town in Georgia the film was shot in.

Interview With Actor Clancy Brown (HD, 21:00) – “I would totally be into slam poetry now, if I was growin’ up these days.” Clancy Brown opens about growing up in the midwest and briefly walks through his route to Hollywood. He calls Mary Lambert a really good set general (“Trying to make a really good movie, but also knew it was a silly movie”). Brown loved the campiness goofiness of the film and talks about it a bit while going over his cast mates (“I was always worried about Eddy…he was tough and able to overcome it though”) and certain moments in the film (The motorcycle kill for instance).  In closing, he resurrects a bit of his character to sign off.

Interview With Actor Jason McGuire (HD, 24:23) – A nice pickup and catch up with Furlong’s co-star of the film. We hear of his audition and experience during the movie, being in awe of Clancy Brown and Anthony Edwards. Specific moments are gone over as well as working with the animal trainers. Since he other career high points were after this movie, he talks the Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith and the like after Pet Sematary Two before going into his life after acting and his thoughts on the film’s legacy.

Interview With Special Effects Artist Steve Johnson (HD, 15:51) – The Scream Factory interview all-star returns to talk Pet Sematary Two. Johnson worked on two other movies when he was doing Pet Sematary Two. There’s a call-back to the Clancy Brown interview about a bet they made as to which film he was working on would open bigger, this one or Innocent Blood. Johnson’s a great interview as always and he’s fun to hear talk not just Pet Sematary Two but his appreciation and admiration for Stephen King and his body of work.

Interview With Composer Mark Governor (HD, 29:32) – The film’s composer talks working with the director to help portray that 90s alternative/grunge feel to the movie. He pulls on intricacies of the film’s score in relation to moments. He’s also appreciative as the fanbase’s continued devotion and interest led to him finally being able to produce an official release of his work years later.

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:33)

Summary

Pet Sematary Two isn’t anything super special, but its a pretty solid, midlevel B-horror film that accomplishes what it sets out to do pretty well. Scream Factory gives it a very loving release with a new 4K transfer that looks quite terrific to go with a rock solid 5.1 track that will help with the jolts and intensity. There are plenty of excellent new interviews here that feel genuine and really paint an honest picture of the production and reflection. If you’re event the slightest fan of the movie, its truly a must have. I’m not sure anyone is ever going to put out something better than this for Pet Sematary Two.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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