Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is a 2023 American supernatural horror film about a young Jud Crandal who is forced to confront his family’s dark history. The movie is a prequel to Pet Sematary (2019).
Directed by Lindsey Anderson Beer (Sierra Burgess Is a Loser) making her feature directorial debut from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Buhler (Pet Sematary 2019) based on characters created by Stephen King in his novel Pet Sematary. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian. Executive produced by Martha Fernandez.
The Di Bonaventura Pictures-Paramount Pictures-Paramount Players co-production stars Samantha Mathis, David Duchovny, Henry Thomas, Pam Grier, Natalie Alyn Lind, Jack Mulhern, Jackson White, Forrest Goodluck, Glen Gould, Vincent Leclerc, Isabella LaBlanc, Karl Graboshas, Auden Larratt, Steve Love, Jude Beny, John W. Lawson, Rachel Osborne, Elliot Miville-Deschênes and Aron Benali.
In 1969, a young Jud Crandall dreams of leaving his hometown of Ludlow, Maine behind, but soon discovers sinister secrets buried within and is forced to confront a dark family history that will forever keep him connected to Ludlow.
Banding together, Jud and his childhood friends must fight an ancient evil that has gripped Ludlow since its founding, and once unearthed has the power to destroy everything in its path…
” …it’s hard to muster up much enthusiasm. Beer does manage to make great use of space, portraying Ludlow as an empty, lonely town isolated from the rest of the world. But the film also looks occasionally cheap and over lit; there’s nothing here that feels authentic to the 1960s (ditto the 1600s flashback, which comes across as cosplay).” /Film
“A brief sequence that travels back even further in Ludlow’s history livens up the proceedings and teases a more interesting prequel, but overall, Bloodlines is content to coast by on familiar simplicity to introduce a series of sinister encounters and violence. Beer navigates these horror sequences well and delivers plenty of surprisingly gory moments and deaths.” ★★½ Bloody Disgusting
“For the violence we see in the film, some moments feel too bombastic in a film that previously went for smaller more intimate moments. That said, it does deliver some jarring moments that make it a good horror entry for the start of spooky season from distributor Paramount+. The only downside is the meaning that comes from the kills is lost in a spree, losing moments of closeness that were developed previously in the film.” 7.5 out of 10, But Why Tho?
“Unfortunately, Bloodlines never manages to shift out of first gear, so when the climax approaches – and the ante should be upped – the film flatlines somewhat. Ending with a whimper when material like this demands a bloody bang. Bloodlines is a serviceable prequel that expands on the Pet Sematary mythos in intriguing fashion, anchored by a deeply affecting David Duchovny performance.” ★★★ Dexerto
“Pet Sematary: Bloodlines generally lacks tension and scares, never quite pushing the viewer to the edge of their seat. The cast is filled with familiar faces, including Henry Thomas, Samantha Mathis, Pam Grier, and Duchovny, all of whom are serviceable. However, this trip into Ludlow lacks the overall atmosphere of the two previous adaptations.” ★★ Guy at the Movies
“I much preferred it to the 2022 requel [reboot sequel hybrid]. As an overall horror movie, I think this Pet Sematary prequel, which focuses on the families that founded the town of Ludlow, is much stronger. However, I do wish it had gone deeper into the story and its characters. Perhaps even more so due to the amazing actors portraying characters with very little screen time.” ★★★ Heaven of Horror
“None of this backstory feels entirely revelatory or necessary to the larger whole. However, Bloodlines justifies its existence by diving into a fractured friendship through the window of a modern slasher. Even if it never feels as grimy as what came before, Pet Sematary: Bloodlines resurrects a familiar story with enough life that you’d almost believe its shambling corpse is the real thing.” ★★★ Josh at the Movies
“The movie will attempt to scare the knickers off its audience, but these jump scares come off as cheap. If the film was a little longer, and the pacing slowed down, perhaps there would be something scary to be found with Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, but unfortunately, it’s a rushed, flat horror film that had the potential to be great.” Movieweb
“It’s always exciting to see King material on the big screen, even when adapting a flashback […] Yet Pet Sematary: Bloodlines needed a jolt of emotion from its cast to land its story beats successfully. Instead, it feels like a weak attempt to revive an IP. As a result, the story stalls out and loses much of its intrigue as we inch closer to the original story.” 4 out of 10, Sunshine State Cineplex
“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.” Variety
“There is a fair amount of practical gore including a few gut munching scenes that are fairly graphic for a major studio release. While it’s probably not going to replace the original in most fans’ hearts, it is a solid little film and a lot better than I was expecting from a DTV entry in a series known for its variable quality.” ★★★½ Voices from the Balcony
Stephen King has commented:“In the book, this is the story Jud Crandall tells Louis Creed to try and dissuade him from using the Pet Sematary. The screenplay takes a few liberties, but it’s a fine story. David Duchovny is excellent. The secret, as always, is caring about the characters.”
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines had its world premiere on September 23rd at this year’s Fantastic Fest with a second screening on the 27th.
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines will premiere on October 6, 2023, on Paramount+ in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Brazil, and on October 7 in all other Paramount+ international markets.
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