Paramount Pictures collabs with UP grad for ‘Pet Sematary’ alternative poster

In celebration of the release of its upcoming suspense thriller Pet Sematary, Paramount Pictures has collaborated with a Caloocan-based Filipino artist via Talenthouse (a leading online open-source creative platform), to create the film’s alternative poster for the Philippines.

The Pet Sematary tribute poster was done by Don Suratos, 39, a graduate from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, and now working as a successful freelance illustrator. His illustration may be used for the film’s marketing campaign.

Suratos, 39, was specifically recruited by Paramount  based on his impressive body of work in Talenthouse. “I used to join Talenthouse competitions, but I eventually got really busy with commissioned book illustrations, so I stopped joining,” Suratos shares. “Then, out of the blue, I received an email that I was personally selected by Paramount Pictures thru Talenthouse to create an artwork for them.”

The Malabon-born illustrator then set out his preparation by watching the trailers of the 2019 film,  and Googling official production stills. His main goal was to “make the elements simple and highlight the girl looking back, the graveyard and the cat’s eyes as my main elements,” Suratos reveals.

“I kept the layout and the concept simple. I focused on the rendering,” he continues. “I feel my scribble rendering style gave my poster a creepier feel than usual. I love the chaos of scribbles. I feel the rendering style complimented the mood of the film.”

The end result is an enthralling masterwork that elevates the film’s horror genre origins.  Columbia Pictures, which distributes Pet Sematary in the Philippines, especially love the piece that for the first time, they are not only using Hollywood posters in their marketing campaign but also Suratos’ artwork.

Now showing in the Philippines, Pet Sematary is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #PetSematary

About Pet Sematary

Stephen King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary has riveted generations of enthusiastic readers as a prime example of the writer’s gift for melding the everyday with the extraordinary to create supernatural thrillers that explore our darkest impulses. Poignant, petrifying and impossible to put down, the saga of the Creed family is a dark and terrifying parable about love and loss from one the most popular fiction writers in history.

Based on the seminal horror novel, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Pet Sematary is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy) screen story by Matt Greenberg based on the novel by Stephen King (It, The Shining). The film stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Amy Seimetz (A Horrible Way to Die), Jeté Laurence (The Snowman), Hugo and Lucas Lavoie, and John Lithgow (Netflix’s The Crown).

‘Pet Sematary’ (2019) review: Breathing new life to Stephen King’s horror classic

Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s adaptation of ‘Pet Sematary’ does not shy away from its nihilist subject matter to bring a new level of terror to its audience.

Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors in the world who has reached the ‘immortal’ status: for generations, there seems to be no shortage in his book-to-screen adaptations. One of them is “Pet Sematary” which is first adapted to film in 1989 by Mary Lambert. Albeit faithful to the source material, it’s a lesser celebrated work compared to his cult classics like The Shining or Carrie; hence, making it very ripe for a remake. Sure enough, the story gets resurrected 30 years after.

Despite some unexpected plot tweakings by writer Matt Greenberg, this 2019 version mostly plays out the same. At its center is the Creed family who have recently moved to a quiet town in Maine. There’s father Dr. Louis (Jason Clarke), along with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their young children Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and Gage (Hugo Lavoie). The fifth family member is a fluffy house cat named Church who unfortunately gets hit by a truck. For this unfortunate event, there’s a spooky burial ground called “Pet Sematary” where the local kids bury their beloved pets. However, heeding the advice of their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow), Louis buries Church in a soil located beyond that and to his surprise, the cat came back into life the next morning. Except it’s not the same cat anymore – his hair is tattered and he has a new mean streak.

The cat came back: Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed in ‘Pet Sematary’

For maximum shock value, it’s best to head on to this film with little information as possible. But since both the poster and trailer already gave away the major deviation, I’ll spill the beans here. Another family member gets hit by a truck – damn those things! – and this time, it’s Ellie (instead of Gage in the novel). Story wise, this adaptation makes the more traumatizing choice. Her contemplations on life and death earlier in the film will not come into full circle had Gage was the one who passed away. Regardless, Louis’ pragmatic beliefs are overpowered by grief that he buries her in the same spot. While here we are, foreseeing the grave consequences of his actions from a mile away.

“Sometimes, dead is better.” (L-R): Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Jason Clarke and Hugo Lavoie as the Creed family.

Under Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s direction, this remake digs deeper on the novel’s profound themes of death, grief and childhood trauma. There’s an ominous dread that consistently looms throughout and that is partly due to the film’s effective camera work and eerie production design. The jump scares are well-constructed and the amount of gore is just enough to be unsettling – a special commendation goes to the film’s gruesome depiction of body distortion. It does not shy away from its nihilist subject matter to bring a new level of terror to its audience and therefore, justify its existence.

What makes King’s novel a timeless classic is that it deals with death, a natural phenomenon that never goes out of style. Pet Sematary illustrates how grief and denial over the loss of a loved one can devolve into madness. The intense performances help in depicting the Creed family’s pain in such a subdued and palpable manner. Clarke projects a warm paternal figure while Laurence menacingly personifies a parent’s sorrow and guilt, one that asks a lot for a child actress. However, Amy Seimetz’ Rachel proves to be the more interesting character here as the film gets to explore with her the limits of a parent’s love, as well as the long term effects of childhood trauma.

Jason Clarke (Dr. Louis Creed) and John Lithgow (Jud Crandall) goes beyond the barrier of ‘Pet Sematary.’

Pet Sematary is burdened with perfunctory expositions in the first act but once it’s done with the mandatory tension building, this is where the film truly picks up. With its family setup, it’s hard not to compare this with Jordan Peele’s recently released and more compelling Us. This, however, is a more back-to-basics horror film that delivers more dread than scares. Through its revitalized plot and subtle performances, the film exceeds the psychological depth and pathos of the original 1989 adaptation. It’s a worthy addition in Stephen King’s oeuvre. Let it be a gateway for more adaptations to come.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, written by Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler, ‘Pet Sematary’ stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed and Alyssa Brooke Levine. Based on Stephen King’s novel. 101 minutes. R-16.

Horror fans rejoice as ‘Pet Sematary’ is rated R-16 with no cuts

The Movie & Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has just given Paramount Pictures’ new horror thriller Pet Sematary a rating of R-16 With No Cuts, which means only movigoers sixteen-year-old and above will be allowed to watch the film in cinemas.

This also means the dark tale will arrive in Philippine theaters April 3 in its original terrifying version, pleasing horror fans and followers of author Stephen King whose novel of the same name was the film’s source material.

Director Dennis Widmyer has been quoted as saying, “We’ve refreshed some things, in the essence of the novel, but I would actually say that there might be more things from the novel that  are gonna be in our thing. That everyone loves, fans love, that’s all I’ll say that are in the movie. That I’m shocked that they let us get away with.”

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura chimes in, “Having tussled with the ratings boards more than I’d care to admit, when you have a child in jeopardy, which we have throughout this story, you’re automatically an R. I’ll say we’ve never had a conversation with the studio about it being PG-13. My feeling about rating in general is I think some movies really demand one or the other. In this case, I think you let it be what it is. And so, I would tend to want it to be R.”

The key to horror films is tapping into the audience’s deepest fears, according to director Kevin Kölsch. Creepy crawlers and demonic visitors have their place, but it is what lies within that is truly terrifying. “There are lots of great movies with far-out supernatural premises, and I enjoy many of them, but not necessarily for the same reasons this touched me,” Kölsch explains.

Producer Mark Vahradian agrees that the real horror is not the monsters that lurk out there in the dark but what despair can bring into the heart of a family. “A lot of horror movies are really only about the scares, but this one gets underneath these kinds of tragedies that befall families. That gave it another layer.”

Widmyer is excited to be part of what he considers the renaissance of Stephen King that is currently under way. “We are looking at his work with fresh eyes and realizing a different approach is warranted. I’m so grateful this has happened or we would never have gotten a chance to make this movie.”

In Philippine cinemas April 3, Pet Sematary is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #PetSematary 

About Pet Sematary

Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Pet Sematary is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy) screen story by Matt Greenberg based on the novel by Stephen King (It, The Shining). The film stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Amy Seimetz (A Horrible Way to Die), Jeté Laurence (The Snowman), Hugo and Lucas Lavoie, and John Lithgow (Netflix’s The Crown).

New take on ‘Pet Sematary’ pulses dark, terrifying supernatural thriller from Stephen King

Stephen King’s 1983 novel Pet Sematary has riveted generations of enthusiastic readers as a prime example of the writer’s gift for melding the everyday with the extraordinary to create supernatural thrillers that explore our darkest impulses. Poignant, petrifying and impossible to put down, the saga of the Creed family is a dark and terrifying parable about love and loss from one the most popular fiction writers in history.

The continued popularity and timeless themes of the book made the story ripe for a new adaptation, and according to the film’s producers the challenge would be to make a movie faithful enough to the original text to please any nostalgic fan, but with a fresh enough take on the story to stand alone as an original thriller.

“I grew up reading Stephen King,” says producer Mark Vahradian. “Pet Sematary was one of my favorites. It left an indelible image, so for me this was personal. It’s about real human drama and family tragedy — dynamics that I think everybody understands.”

According to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the search for the right director ― or, as it turned out, directors ― to helm a modern-day reimagining of King’s novel was extensive and included a number of box-office legends. “We met a lot of people, some of them very well known,” remembers di Bonaventura. “We watched a lot of films. But Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s movie Starry Eyes made them stand out in a crowded field. That film is surreal as hell. It’s scary as hell. It is twisted and so distinctive. We knew we had to work with them.”

Kölsch and Widmyer’s 2014 thriller Starry Eyes premiered at SXSW and earned awards worldwide for its perverse take on Hollywood stardom. For these die-hard horror mavens with a passion for King’s work, tackling one of the master’s classic tales was a dream come true. “When we heard they were developing a new take on Pet Sematary we definitely wanted in on it,” says Widmyer. “It was a really arduous process. We had to pitch the producers quite a few times, but they agreed with our vision for it, especially because we wanted to go back to the novel for guidance.”

The filmmaking partners were attracted to the fact that the story never loses sight of the characters’ humanity in the face of its startling supernatural elements. “That’s a constant in King’s work,” Widmyer observes. “It is definitely frightening, but even if you take the horror out, it serves as a solid drama and that is what we look for. Out of all of Stephen King’s books, this is the one that deals with the most human emotion of all: grief.”

Widmyer remembers reading the book as a teen and being terrified by it. “It deals with a very human element. It is a man’s willingness to do the unthinkable to save his family, not some outside force, that starts everything. It felt like a very dangerous book to read, and it definitely stayed with me for a long time.”

The new film is the co-directors’ interpretation of King’s novel rather than a remake of the earlier movie, says Kölsch. “We see it as an entirely new adaptation. I am a big fan of the earlier film, but it exists for what it is,” he says. “We wanted to tell our version, and that includes some things that were in the book, but not the movie. There are some surprises for longtime fans, some things people won’t see coming, but we have stayed true to the essence of the book.”

In Philippine cinemas April 3, Pet Sematary is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.#PetSematary

About Pet Sematary

Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Pet Sematary is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy) screen story by Matt Greenberg based on the novel by Stephen King (It, The Shining). The film stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Amy Seimetz (A Horrible Way to Die), Jeté Laurence (The Snowman), Hugo and Lucas Lavoie, and John Lithgow (Netflix’s The Crown).

WATCH: New ‘Pet Sematary’ trailer reveals story’s dark themes

They don’t come back the same. Watch the second trailer for Paramount Picures’ Pet Sematary, based on Stephen King’s terrifying novel. The film stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and John Lithgow (Netflix’s The Crown).

Check out the trailer below and watch Pet Sematary in Philippine cinemas soon.

Pet Sematary is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #PetSematary

About Pet Sematary

Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Starry Eyes filmmakers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer direct the new horror film from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler.   

WATCH: Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ remake unleashes first trailer

Sometimes, dead is better. Paramount Pictures has unleashed the first Pet Sematary trailer for the highly anticipated new Stephen King adaptation starring Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and John Lithgow (Netflix’s The Crown).

Check out the trailer below and watch Pet Sematary in Philippine cinemas soon.

About Pet Sematary

Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Starry Eyes filmmakers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer direct the new horror film from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler.

Pet Sematary is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.