Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is a 2023 American supernatural horror film directed by Lindsey Anderson Beer (in her directorial debut), and co-written by Beer and Jeff Buhler. Serving as a prequel to Pet Sematary (2019), which in turn was based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King and a remake of the 1989 film, the film stars Jackson White, Forrest Goodluck, Jack Mulhern, Henry Thomas, Natalie Alyn Lind, Isabella Star LaBlanc, Samantha Mathis, Pam Grier and David Duchovny.
Set in 1969, 50 years before the events of the previous film, the plot follows a young Jud Crandall as he discovers a local Native American cemetery where the dead can live again, without realizing the horror that will affect his life.
After the commercial success of Pet Sematary in 2019, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura had plans for a prequel explaining the mythology and universe of the film. In February 2021, the film was green-lit, with Buhler and di Bonaventura returning in their roles as screenwriter and producer, respectively. Beer signed on as director in May 2021 and principal photography began in August of the same year.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 23, 2023, which was followed by its streaming launch on Paramount+ on October 6.
In 1969, a young Jud Crandall dreams of escaping his hometown, until he discovers the malevolent secrets of what is buried in a cemetery. He confronts a haunting family legacy that forever connects him to the place and unites with his childhood friends as they face an ancient evil that has plagued Ludlow from its inception.
- Jackson White as Jud Crandall
- Natalie Alyn Lind as Norma
- Forrest Goodluck as Manny
- Isabella Star LaBlanc as Donna
- Henry Thomas as Dan Crandall
- Jack Mulhern as Timmy Baterman
- David Duchovny as Bill Baterman
- Samantha Mathis as Kathy Crandall
- Pam Grier as Majorie Washburn
Additionally, Vincent Leclerc plays a priest and Ted Whittall plays a hospital visitor.
In March 2019, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated that a prequel to Pet Sematary (2019) was possible if the film was a success financially. The following month, directors Kevin Kölsch and Denis Widmyer ruled themselves out of returning, saying, “If you were going to do more, you’d probably do backstory stuff. […] I’d be really interested to see how somebody would do a sequel to this movie. It probably won’t be us”.
In May 2019, screenwriter Jeff Buhler stated that there had been preliminary discussions on a continuation, saying, “So a lot of the ideas that we’ve been batting around currently, recently, have all been about, more about digging into the mythology of the town, these rituals that children present, the mythology of the Micmac, the Wendigo, the cemetery, the origins, Jud’s life. So it looks like, I don’t want to promise anything, because we don’t know, we’re not even down the road on an idea yet.” The film was officially announced in February 2021, with Buhler and di Bonaventura returning as screenwriter and producer, respectively. Lindsey Beer was hired to direct in May 2021.
In June 2021, Jackson White was cast as a young Jud Crandall. The following month, Pam Grier joined the cast. Principal photography took place in Montreal in August 2021, with some scenes being shot at John Abbott College.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 23, 2023. It was released by Paramount+ on October 6, 2023, in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, and the following day in other territories.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 20% of 55 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.3/10. The website’s consensus reads: “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines takes half-hearted stabs at expanding the world of Stephen King’s original story, but they’re largely lost in a substandard story that mistakes bland gore for effective horror.” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 31 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable” reviews.
Michael Nordine writing for Variety said, “Among the film’s many flaws — its flat aesthetics, the forgettable characters who inhabit it (including David Duchovny and Pam Grier, both underused) — perhaps the most egregious is its utter lack of atmosphere. There’s no sense of foreboding despite its attempts to unsettle, no feeling that the early warning signs are leading to anything especially frightening. Audiences already know what the eponymous burial ground does to anyone (or anything) unlucky enough to be interred there, and Bloodlines does little to live up to or expand the mythos”. Bob Strauss of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “It’s a better horror movie than the 2019 remake, but like Mary Lambert’s 1989 production, it still feels unnecessary. Cool as the concept of a magic graveyard that brings beloved pets and, later, not so lovely people back from the dead may be, this remains second-rate King movie material”.
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