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Paramount Studios presents
Pet Semetary Two (1992)

"If there was even one chance in a million it would work, wouldn't you just want to try?"
- Drew (Jason McGuire)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: September 27, 2001

Stars: Edward Furlong, Anthony Edwards, Clancy Brown
Other Stars: Jared Rushton, Jason McGuire, Lisa Waltz
Director: Mary Lambert

MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence and for sexuality and language
Run Time: 01h:40m:10s
Release Date: September 25, 2001
UPC: 097363274742
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-CB- D-

DVD Review

Mary Lambert directed the original Pet Semetary in 1989, and that film had some genuinely spooky moments, despite Fred Gwynne's overly silly Maine accent. I have no doubt that the Stephen King penned screenplay helped scare audiences quite a bit, as well. His novel of the same name was one of his most frightening, and when the film version was released, I was glad to see that much of the same dark tone prevailed. The story of an ancient Indian burial ground that will bring the dead back to life, albeit with a few unwelcome quirks, generated some real shivers, and it should not surprise anyone that a sequel was demanded.

In 1992, Lambert once again was behind the camera to direct the follow up, Pet Semetary Two. I imagine the Hollywood mind set for the second film was to just keep burying dead things, and have them come back to wreak havoc. It worked in the first one, so then it would just have to work here, too. No Stephen King presence for the sequel, and his twisted touch was sorely missed. Pet Semetary Two featured a script by Richard Outten, and he was just not able to muster up a story that could do anything but pale next to King's original tale, and the film simply dissolves into a basic horror-by-numbers project.

After the accidental and fatal electrocution of his movie star mother during the filming of a horror flick, young Jeff Matthews (Terminator 2's Edward Furlong) and his veterinarian father Chase (ER's Anthony Edwards) move back to the small Maine town of Ludlow. That is the same small town from the first Pet Semetary, where the dead just don't stay buried. As Chase works to reopen an animal hospital, Jeff attends school and is tormented by the local bullies, led by spike-haired Clyde (Jared Rushton). Jeff's only friend is the chubby Drew (Jason McGuire), who is burdened by a somewhat abusive stepfather named Gus (The Bride's Clancy Brown), who just happens to be the County Sheriff.

Once all of the primary characters are established, it is just a matter of time before one of the characters gets the bright idea to bury something in the dreaded Indian burial ground. Before long, it seems like recently deceased bodies, both human and animal, are popping out the ground at a pretty quick clip. Of course, we all know that sometimes dead is better.

While there is a fair amount of gore present, actual tension and suspense is pretty much nil. Before the DVD is even out of the case, we already know this is Pet Semetary Two. Dead things will come back, and it won't very pleasant. Let's get to it! But Outten's script seems to take forever to get to the first burial, and there really is no level of shock from the characters when they realize that bodies can come back to life (well, sort of back to life). The foreshadowing in this film is incredibly blatant, and it shouldn't take too much advanced thought to predict what will occur by the time the credits roll.

In theory, the main cast of Pet Semetary Two is full of good actors (in other movies, that is). Furlong is always good as that kind of dark, troubled teen, and his role here is similar in tone to his character in Terminator 2. However, unlike American History X, where Furlong got the opportunity to actually act, his Jeff character simply broods and does his best to avoid the bullies. It's too bad that Anthony Edwards is relegated to the crusty widowed dad role here, while buried behind a weird-looking beard. Clancy Brown, as the violent Sheriff, carries on the bad Maine accent tradition set in the first film, and his characterization is a wee bit over the top.

As far as sequels go, this one just didn't need to get made. What was the point exactly? This is just an extremely weak re-hash of the original, with none of the creepiness.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Paramount has presented Pet Semetary Two in a 1.85:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer. As the DVD started, the first thing I noticed was excessive dirt and grain on the Paramount logo, including what looked like a hair. That was somewhat startling. As the film progressed, the grain issue cleared up for the remainder of the film. In general, the overall color field is bright, with flesh tones that are consistent, though just a bit on the soft side. The black levels tend to be rather muddy. There are some compression artifacts that are apparent here and there, as well as a few scratches.

Nothing spectacular, despite the jarring flaws during the opening sequence.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Pet Semetary Two offers a pair of English audio tracks, in 5.1 and 2.0. I found there to be very little significant difference between the two. The 5.1 mix offers a bit more in the way of a directional sound field, and a slightly more pronounced presence of rear channel cues, but there is not a drastic separation between the 5.1 and 2.0 offerings. Even with the similarities, I have no complaints with Paramount's audio transfer for this disc.

A 2.0 French dub is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Not much in the way of extras. A 1.85:1 theatrical trailer for Pet Semetary Two, 13 chapter stops, and English subtitles are Paramount's only bonus materials on this disc.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

This is an uneventful attempt at horror that is nothing but a hollow shell of the first film. I'd say bury it, but I'm afraid it would come back.

 


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